High-Risk Asbestos Areas

Asbestos is a natural occurring mineral consisting of durable fibers. When asbestos is damaged and the fibers are separated, it can form a microscopic dust that can be easily inhaled. If inhaled, it can collect in the lungs and stomach and eventually lead to the development of serious, life threatening diseases.

Occupational environments with high risk of asbestos exposure

Because it is such a hazard, the use of asbestos is strictly regulated. Many workers, however, are still at risk of asbestos exposure. Following is a list of some of the occupational environments that contain high levels of the toxic mineral:

  • Construction or demolition sites

Because of its strength and durability, asbestos has been used in many building products such as flooring and insulation. Although buildings today are not built with asbestos-containing products, many older buildings still contain the mineral.

As construction workers and demolition teams tear down or remodel buildings containing asbestos, the asbestos strands are disturbed and the toxic fibers are released and can be inhaled by the workers.

  • Power plants

Many of the broilers and generators in power plants are lined with asbestos because of its resistance to heat and low electrical conductivity.

  • Shipyards

During the 1930s, 40s and 50s, the shipbuilding industry had their employees use hundreds of asbestos-laden products as components of the ships they were building. Because of this, thousands of shipyard workers have dealt with asbestos in various applications.

Shipyard workers are at the highest risk of asbestos exposure when an asbestos-containing product such as a broiler, steam pipe or plumbing insulation on a ship has to be replaced or repaired. They are also at risk when they are working on or cleaning older ships that may contain aged or deteriorated asbestos.

  • Automotive mechanic shops

Because of its durability and resistance to heat, many older manufacturing plants used asbestos to make breaks and clutch linings. There is evidence that mechanics working on older vehicles may be at risk of asbestos exposure.

  • Steel mills

Thermal insulation substances used in steel mills contain asbestos.

Other high-risk asbestos areas:

  • Homes, schools and commercial buildings built before the 1970s. The danger occurs as the asbestos-containing materials begin to age and deteriorate.
  • Towns near asbestos manufacturing plants. Individuals living near the plants are at risk of loose asbestos fibers leaking into the surrounding air.

If you suspect you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos contact us today to find out more about the resources available to you. 

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