Who is at Risk for Asbestos Exposure?
Before the late 1970’s, asbestos was used in many building and other products, such as fireproof vests and a number of other consumer materials. It was praised for its heat resistant, strength and insulating properties. Unfortunately, it was proven that asbestos is highly toxic and the cause of the diseases asbestosis and mesothelioma cancer.
Some professions are more prone and at risk of asbestos exposure. These include miners, electricians, railroad workers, shipyard workers, and a number of other professions. Even military veterans are at risk as asbestos was used in drywall and building materials, mandated for use in every branch by the US government. Asbestos fibers were also used in ship building materials, putting those in the navy at risk as well.
Those at most risk are those who were exposed to a large amount of asbestos fibers over a long period of time. The type of asbestos fibers you were exposed to can also effect your risk as some fibers are known to cause mesothelioma more than others. Some personal factors can also increase your chances of developing an asbestos related disease, such as smoking and if you hold a preexisting lung condition.
One of the more terrifying developments in determining who is at risk is that family members of workers exposed to asbestos may also find themselves with a life-threatening disease. When workers would come home with asbestos fibers still on their clothes or skin, family members may have breathed in the asbestos fibers without knowing it.
In general, people are at less of a risk of asbestos exposure than in the past as the use of asbestos materials has been banned in the United States. However, when buildings previously made with asbestos building materials are destroyed, the asbestos fibers can be released into the air. View more about asbestos related dangers.