Asbestos is a very dangerous mineral that has been used by people for centuries. Although it has been used for a long time, it was during the industrial revolution and beyond that it really permeated every aspect of Western life. Due to its resistance to water, heat, chemicals, and electricity, it was used heavily in construction and the manufacturing of commercial and household products.
Although asbestos was found to be very dangerous and was heavily regulated by the 1980’s, there are still many ways in which someone could be repeatedly exposed to the deadly chemical. Most of these are through occupational exposure, one of the most common ways a person is exposed to asbestos long term.
One of the most at-risk careers for asbestos exposure is a construction worker. As stated before, asbestos was heavily used in construction and building projects before the 1980’s. Although most building products no longer contain asbestos, products such as roof and floor tiles still are. Through demolition or renovation of homes and buildings that contain asbestos, construction workers are put at risk for asbestos related disease.
Another at-risk occupation is a firefighter. Firefighters can possibly experience a lot of asbestos exposure in their careers. When entering a burning home, asbestos fibers are released into the air. Luckily, firefighters have special gear that assists in minimizing their asbestos exposure in burning buildings. This does not, however, eliminate the risk. Many firefighters were exposed to asbestos during 9/11 and later contracted cancers such as mesothelioma because of it.
These are just a couple of examples, but there are many occupations in which someone can be exposed to asbestos over a long period of time. Some of these other occupations include asbestos mining, shipyard work, industrial work, steel mill work, and power plant work. The dangerous effects of asbestos on workers make it important to try and lessen the exposure in these fields.