Asbestos Exposure

With approximately 2,000 to 3,000 Americans diagnosed with mesothelioma annually and many, many others battling asbestos-related illnesses, many wonder where exposure to this toxic mineral occurred.

Unfortunately many cases of mesothelioma can be traced back to asbestos exposure on the job. Asbestos was so prevalent in many industries but specific industrial occupations may have experienced a greater risk of asbestos exposure:

  • shipbuilding
  • steel and aluminum fabrication
  • oil drilling and refining
  • automotive and machine
  • railroad
  • pipe-fitting and boiler making
  • construction and remodeling
  • plumbing and HVAC
  • paper and pulp mill

Most exposure resulted from the use of asbestos-contaminated materials however, some of these occupations in the steel and oil industry involved wearing clothing that was lined with asbestos, which could result in exposure when the clothing was worn or ripped.

Those who served in the U.S. Navy, Coast Guard or Merchant Marine were all heavily exposed to asbestos because of the extensive use of this substance throughout sea-going vessels. This risk also extends to commercial seamen as well as longshoremen.

It has now been widely reported that when the World Trade Center buildings 1, 2 and 7 collapsed on 11 September 2001, several hundred tons of asbestos were released into the air over Manhattan, Brooklyn and northern New Jersey. At least one first responder to the tragedy, an EMT, was so heavily exposed that she contracted mesothelioma and died within five years (the disease does not normally express symptoms for 25 - 50 years after asbestos exposure). To this day, firemen, policemen, EMTs and others who were in the area during that event suffer from abnormally high rates of respiratory disorders.

Environmental Hazards

Naturally-occurring asbestos can also pose an environmental hazard. One case is El Dorado Hills, located in the Sierra foothills east of Sacramento, California. As urban sprawl continues, construction operations have uncovered large areas of serpentine, the source of white chrysotile asbestos, which has released asbestos fibers into the local air supply.

Of course, asbestos in the environment is something that the people of Libby Montana have lived with for decades, as the W.R. Grace's local mining operations nearby released tons of fibers that settled all over town. offers an informative packet about the dangers of asbestos exposure and mesothelioma to those interested who fill out the packet request form on this page.

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