People who develop asbestos related diseases have usually had regular and perhaps frequent asbestos exposure, either through handling as part of their work, or living or working in a building where asbestos-containing materials have been disturbed by construction or renovation.
Certain kinds of work involve high exposure to asbestos. These include:
Ship construction involves many kinds of materials that contain asbestos. Shipyard workers often worked in closed spaces with material that released large quantities of asbestos fibers into the air. In Southern California, the Long Beach Shipyard (also called the US Naval Dry Docks and the Terminal Island Naval Shipyard), the San Diego Naval Shipyard, and NASSCO have employed thousands of workers in the shipbuilding trades, including pipe fitters, boilermakers, electricians, welders, machinists, filers, polishers, sanders, buffers, heat treaters, maintenance workers, engineers, draftsmen, and others.
People who have worked in shipbuilding in any capacity, even for a matter of weeks or months, at any time in their lives, are at increased risk for developing mesothelioma.
They should tell their healthcare providers about their exposure.
Risks to Family Members of Asbestos Workers
Family members of a worker heavily exposed to asbestos are also at risk for illness. They can be exposed to fibers brought into the home on the worker’s hair, clothing, and shoes. Federal and some state laws now require people working with asbestos to take safety measures to prevent the fibers being carried on them. Depending on the nature of their work and their exposure, workers may be required to shower and change their clothes before leaving work, or store their own clothes in a separate part of the workplace, or wash work clothes separately at home.
Risks in Asbestos Removal and Building Demolition
While removing asbestos from homes and workplaces, the asbestos-containing materials are likely to be disturbed in ways that release the fibers into the air, where they can be inhaled. Demolition of a building presents even greater risks of creating airborne asbestos fibers. Removal of asbestos-containing products should be done only by trained professionals who adhere to OSHA safety standards.
Brief Asbestos Exposure
Although the highest risk of developing mesothelioma comes from regular and prolonged exposure to asbestos, some people have developed the disease after only very brief exposure. Asbestos fibers that lodge in lung tissue continue to cause damage as long as they stay there, and mesothelioma grows slowly and silently. Symptoms may not appear for decades after exposure.
Getting Legal Help
If you or a loved one has mesothelioma or another asbestos-caused illness, we can help you take the steps to protect your rights. You can reach our firm at (619) 238-1811.