In the metalworking industry, asbestos was prevalent in many of the tools due to its high heat- and flame-resistant qualities. The clothing and safety equipment also contained asbestos. It made the job much safer for all involved.
Sadly, although the clothing and gear were supposed to protect these workers, it was actually harming them. Pants, aprons, shirts, gloves and masks worn by workers were all laced with asbestos. In addition to clothes, equipment such as furnaces, boilers, generators and pipes also contained asbestos. Asbestos exposure, especially in close range and over a long period of time, has been proven to be the leading cause of mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that is very pliable. However, when this pliable material breaks it releases dangerous microscopic fibers. You can't see them to avoid inhaling them.
In metal working, the products and tools commonly used can break often, increasing the amount of fibers released. Although asbestos is a natural material, our bodies cannot release or breakdown these fibers down. Instead, they become trapped within the tissues of our body, most notably the lining of the lungs, abdominal cavity and the heart. These fibers can be there for years, slowly changing sensitive tissues and organs. Scar tissue can form over the fibers and cause massive fluid buildup, which puts pressure on the body. After many years, these fibers change cells, leading to the development of mesothelioma.
Even though the dangers of asbestos were not released to the public until the 1980s, the manufacturers of asbestos products knew of it was harmful. But they neglected to release statements or advise employers to provide safety protection for their workers. This gross negligence has caused pain and devastation for thousands of families, is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths and has put millions at risk.
The asbestos manufacturers have paid dearly for this negligence. Since the early 1980s, thousands of lawsuits have been filed against them, suing for damages as well as charging them for wrongful death. If you have been stricken with mesothelioma or are a family member of someone who has, contact a lawyer so you too can recover compensation.
Below you will find a list of work sites where workers may have been exposed to asbestos: