Top Six Occupations at Risk of Asbestos Exposure in 2023

Asbestos was widely used during the 20th century because of its durability. Millions of workers were exposed to asbestos during the 20th century. After the dangers were known, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) limited the use of asbestos. When asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested, they can cause mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer, and other diseases such as asbestosis and lung cancer. While asbestos is not banned in the United States of America, regulations that have been put in place have reduced exposure in many occupations. However, many workers are still at risk of asbestos exposure. Below, we share six occupations still at risk of asbestos exposure in 2023.

Construction Workers

Countless buildings were made with asbestos-contaminated materials because asbestos was considered the perfect building material. Asbestos acts as an insulator, has good fire protection properties, and protects against corrosion. Many buildings constructed between 1920 and 1980 still have asbestos-containing materials. Construction workers who work in old buildings are at risk of asbestos exposure. Construction workers can suffer asbestos exposure when removing, repairing, or demolishing asbestos-contaminated materials. These actions can release asbestos particles into the air and make it easier for construction workers to inhale them.

The following are examples of construction materials that may contain asbestos;

  • Insulation
  • Ceiling tiles
  • Floor tiles
  • Cement sheets and pipes
  • Roofing materials
  • Paints and sealants
  • Wall and ceiling plaster


Firefighters are at a high risk of asbestos exposure because asbestos-containing products are still present in old buildings. When an old building with asbestos-contaminated materials catches fire, asbestos fibers could be released into the air. Firefighters usually do not take the necessary measures to protect themselves against asbestos exposure unless given advance warning.


Insulators responsible for removing, maintaining, or installing asbestos-based insulation are at a high risk of developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.


Plumbers who work with old asbestos-contaminated materials are at a high risk of asbestos exposure. The following are some examples of plumbing materials that may contain asbestos;

  • Pipe insulation and blocks
  • Cement powder
  • Welding rods
  • Gaskets
  • Joint compounds, adhesives, and sealants

Auto Mechanics

Some car parts were made with asbestos to help them last longer. These parts include clutches, brake pads and linings, valve rings, and fuse boxes. Mechanics working with automobile parts made before the early 1980s may be at risk of asbestos exposure.


Asbestos was used as the primary heat-insulation medium of many boilers because of its fire-resistance qualities. Many boilers today remain contaminated with asbestos. This makes the occupation of boilermaker a high-risk job for asbestos exposure even in 2023. Boilermakers are responsible for making, repairing, and maintaining boilers. During repair or maintenance, asbestos can get disturbed and released into the air, where it can be inhaled.

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