Carpenters Exposed to Asbestos
For much of the twentieth century, carpenters played an integral part in the development of the United States. These individuals helped construct many of the homes and buildings that still stand and are used today. Unfortunately, during much of this period, carpenters were exposed to dangerous microscopic asbestos fibers. This exposure can lead to the development of mesothelioma or other serious asbestos-related diseases.
Carpenters and Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos was used in all kinds of construction materials up until the 1980s. Unfortunately, carpentry work was extremely prevalent during the period from the 1940s into the 1980s. As part of the “Baby Boom” following World War II, carpenters were very busy constructing homes and buildings across the country. Before metal studs existed for use in the framing of buildings, carpenters were responsible for this process. As a result, carpenters were exposed to large amounts of asbestos fibers.
Though these carpenters were most widely associated with working with wood, they were also working with and around all kinds of other construction materials that contained asbestos. This includes materials such as:
- Wallboard, plaster, and joint compounds
- Brick mortar
- Roof shingles
- Insulation for walls and attics
- Plumbing materials
- Ceiling and flooring
- Electrical wiring
- Paints and stains
In addition, carpenters also handled asbestos sheets, often cutting them into appropriate sizes for various applications. The process of cutting these sheets not only released fibers into the air that the carpenters breathed in, it also caused them to be covered in asbestos dust, which exposed their family members and other individuals to asbestos fibers that these carpenters came into contact with.
There are generally two types of carpenters that work in the construction of buildings. A “rough” carpenter is responsible for the large framing of the house or building. These types of carpenters were often at a higher risk of exposure to asbestos fibers due to the work they were completing and the work of others around them that occurred while framing was being completed. Another type of carpenter is known as a “finish” carpenter. These carpenters are considered more highly skilled because their work often requires greater precision. Finish carpenters are responsible for creating furniture and cabinetry. Their risk of asbestos exposure is considered less than that of rough carpenters.
Although asbestos use ended in the 1980s, it is still possible today for carpenters to be exposed to asbestos fibers through remodeling or renovation projects. If it is thought that materials encountered during a remodeling or renovation project contain asbestos, a professional in asbestos removal should be contacted before the carpenter begins or continues work.
Carpenters who were harmed due to exposure to asbestos fibers can file claims against the companies that manufactured or supplied the products that contained asbestos. Additionally, carpenters can file lawsuits against employers that knew of the dangers of asbestos exposure and did not warn or protect workers.
The damage that exposure to asbestos fibers can cause is often devastating. If you have been harmed by asbestos exposure and would like more information about your potential legal options, speak with an attorney experienced in mesothelioma and asbestos-related claims. At the Throneberry Law Group, we provide understanding and expertise in helping victims of exposure to asbestos fibers.