What Occupations are at Risk for Mesothelioma?

Workplace Hazards

Anyone who is exposed to asbestos can develop mesothelioma, but it most often affects people who are exposed to asbestos while on the job. This is because exposure to high levels of asbestos and/or exposure over a long period of time increases your risk of developing asbestos disease. Certain industries and occupations put workers at an elevated risk. Because it normally takes decades for mesothelioma to develop, you can be diagnosed 20 to 50 years after you left the job where you were exposed. If you have worked in a high-risk occupation, talk to your doctor about mesothelioma screening.

How Workers are Exposed

Asbestos is heat and fire-resistant. It is strong, but flexible and it is a poor electrical conductor. Ways in which workers may be exposed include:

  • Working directly with asbestos itself, such as in mining and processing
  • Working with asbestos products, such as insulation or brake pads
  • Asbestos products are part of their work environment
  • Working in occupations where asbestos products are disturbed and released, such as demolition or firefighting
  • Working with items that are contaminated with asbestos, such as museum work
  • Working in older buildings that are contaminated with asbestos, such as schools and hospitals

High Risk Industries, Occupations and Work Environments

Examples of high-risk industries, occupations and work environments include:

  • Mining
  • Shipyards
  • Railroad
  • Steel mills
  • Copper smelting facilities
  • Oil refineries
  • Power plants
  • Chemical plants
  • Factories
  • Appliance manufacture and repair, including small appliance repair
  • Boiler manufacture and repair
  • Automotive manufacture and repair
  • Construction
  • Remodeling
  • Demolition
  • Welding
  • Pipefitting
  • Disaster response
  • Firefighting and other emergency response
  • Military
  • Museum workers
  • Asbestos abatement

High Risk Buildings and Structures

While being a teacher or a nurse does not put you at an elevated risk by the nature of the job, it can mean spending long hours working in buildings that are more likely to be contaminated with asbestos. Examples of the types of building and structures that are often contaminated with asbestos include:

  • Schools and universities
  • Hospitals
  • Libraries
  • Stadiums
  • Prisons

Loved Ones and Second-Hand Exposure

Loved ones of people who were exposed at work sometimes develop mesothelioma due to second-hand exposure. The exposed worker brings asbestos home on their clothing. Second-hand exposure can be the result of hugging and other close contact during which fibers are inhaled from the worker’s clothes or hair, but can affect anyone living in the household. Often, it is the person who did the household laundry.

If you believe that you were exposed to asbestos on the job, please ask to be connected with an experienced asbestos mesothelioma attorney in your area right away.