Boilermakers are at a high risk of asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that was used heavily in several industries in the 20th century. Asbestos is resistant to heat, corrosion, and electricity, and for those reasons, it was seen as an ideal mineral to use in boiler production and operation. Asbestos is an effective insulator for boilers, and manufacturing and insulating boiler equipment with asbestos can reduce the risks related to high temperatures. Indeed, many of the uses of asbestos that put many boiler workers at risk were banned, but the reality is that boiler workers are still at a huge risk of asbestos exposure.
How Boiler Workers Were and Can Still be Exposed to Asbestos
According to the Department of Labor, boiler workers include workers who produce and install the machines, known as boilermakers, and workers who oversee the daily use of boilers in boiler rooms or engine rooms, known as boiler operators. Asbestos poses a threat to both boilermakers and boiler operators.
Historically, boilermakers would encounter asbestos when welding, cutting, and joining boiler parts made of asbestos-containing products. Asbestos would get disturbed during the process of welding, cutting, and joining these parts, releasing asbestos fibers into the air. On the other hand, boiler operators would get exposed to asbestos when, for instance, they were cleaning, and repairing boilers, often in small and poorly ventilated rooms.
Today, boiler workers can still encounter asbestos when welding, cutting, and joining boiler parts and when cleaning and repairing boilers. This is because much of the products used to make boilers and much of the products in already-existing boilers contain asbestos. Many of the products used to make boilers were manufactured before the dangers of asbestos became widely known.
Asbestos-Containing Products in Boilers
As already mentioned, many of the products found in broilers are asbestos-contaminated. Indeed, the asbestos-containing products in boilers may vary depending on the manufacturer, but the following are some of the most common asbestos-containing products in boilers;
- Boiler insulation
- Pipe insulation
- Fire retardant bricks
- Heat jackets
- Hand holes
Dangers of Asbestos Exposure
Boiler workers who suffer asbestos exposure are at a high risk of developing asbestos-related illnesses. Some of the asbestos-related diseases that boiler workers can develop after getting exposed to asbestos included:
- Lung cancer
- Pleural effusions
- Scarring of the lung lining
Usually, it takes a considerably long time for an asbestos-related illness to develop. Mesothelioma, for example, can take 20 to 50 years to develop after initial asbestos exposure. So, people who were once boiler workers but are no longer boiler workers can still be diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related illness.
Fortunately, a victim of asbestos exposure who ends up developing an asbestos-related illness like mesothelioma has legal options. For example, as a victim, you can file a claim against the company that failed to warn you about possible asbestos exposure and recover compensation.
Nationwide Mesothelioma Lawyers
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced nationwide mesothelioma attorneys about your situation.