Ways Asbestos has Affected Construction Industry Workers

In the years prior to the 1980s, asbestos was a routine part of construction projects. It was everywhere – in the insulation, siding, drywall, plumbing, roof shingles, wall paper, paint, spackle and many other building supplies. Contractors and construction workers were constantly exposed to the fibers, making the construction industry one of the professions most affected by asbestos exposure.

The asbestos fibers are so small, they are easily breathed into the lungs, and even small amounts of exposure can have dangerous health consequences. Workers in the construction industry didn’t just put themselves at risk, but they also endangered the health of their families, as asbestos fibers can travel in the form of a fine dust on clothing.

The effects of previous use are still evident today. Asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma are all prevalent among individuals who were previously connected to the construction industry. All forms of asbestos are harmful, including chrysotile asbestos.

The diseases that form as a result of exposure to asbestos may cause breathing complications, scarring in the lungs and cancer. Construction workers who experienced asbestos exposure are at risk for developing complications, though evidence of asbestos-related illness may not develop for many years.

Avoid Asbestos Exposure

Even if you never worked as a construction worker, you may still be at risk for exposure if you’ve since worked on construction projects – particularly if you’ve helped renovate or repair a structure or road built prior to 1980. Older buildings may have been built with supplies containing asbestos, and even new structures may have products that contain asbestos.

If you are unsure as to whether a project you work on involves asbestos, it’s better to be safe than sorry and take precautions against exposure. Be sure to follow the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s federal guidelines for worker protection from asbestos, and for the health safety of others, follow OSHA’s procedures for proper removal of debris containing asbestos.

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