In 1989, attempts were made to halt the use of asbestos in the United States due to the alarming health issues arising from occupational asbestos exposure. Until that point, asbestos, a fire-resistant fibrous substance, has been used for centuries and was extremely common.
The truth is, asbestos has been found to be the cause of many serious physical disorders, including lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis, and pleural disorders. Many people spent their whole careers in buildings where they came into contact with asbestos fibers, unknowingly having their health effected. While asbestos is no longer commonly used by manufacturers or in industry today, the substance is still present in most buildings in which these activities took place.
Most cases of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related conditions result from prolonged asbestos exposure that occurred in certain occupational sites, which spans a number of industries. These sites include:
With asbestos prevalent at such sites, certain occupations are also prone to asbestos exposure. This includes plumbers, electricians, firefighters, railroad workers, auto mechanics and machinists. For example, veterans of the U.S. Navy have a very high rate of mesothelioma because vast amounts of asbestos-containing materials that were used to manufacture ships during World War II. People in other branches of the military are also at risk because asbestos was used in barracks, mess halls, tank clutches, airplane brakes, insulation and many other locations and products.
If you worked at one of these sites during the 20th century and are concerned you might have mesothelioma or another asbestos-related condition, please talk to your doctor. Even if you haven't presented with symptoms, your doctor can monitor you to ensure your exposure hasn't resulted in one of these illnesses.
Below you will find a list of occupations where workers may have been exposed to asbestos: