Many plumbers may not even realize how much exposure they have to asbestos, which is found in the insulation in and around the areas they work in. Even though the United States has enacted regulation in an effort to phase out the use of asbestos slowly over time, many products still contain some form of the fibrous silicate mineral. Contrary to belief, plumber are not safe merely if they avoid the insulation throughout a home because the pipes that they are repairing may contain the product and HVAC systems are known to contain varying quantities of asbestos.
Asbestos is used with other materials in order to make blocks that are used for insulation. Before regulations were enacted to limit the amount of asbestos contained in insulation and similar products, these blocks were rarely covered. If they were, they were covered in tar paper or canvas which offers little protection against exposure. Plumbers come into contact with block insulation on a regular basis and if they are working in an older home, they may be working with material that is made up of as much as 90% asbestos.
Water Heaters Filled With Asbestos
Whether gas or electric, water heaters may be comprised of components that contain asbestos. The pipes connected to a water heater are also likely to contain some form of insulation that could expose plumbers to asbestos over a long period of time. Asbestos is even found in many of the pipes that are commonly found throughout homes and residents are completely unaware of the existence of asbestos in their homes. The concentration of asbestos in any component is likely to be much higher if the home was built before the 1990s, when regulations began to come into effect to lower the quantities of asbestos used in construction, insulation and plumbing systems.
Drywall and Pipes
On occasion, plumbers may need to get behind drywall in order to access pipes that need repair. Drywall and joint compounds contain asbestos and any dust or particles that are kicked up into the air when working with drywall might put the worker at risk. The pipes themselves may contain asbestos as well, especially if they are thermal pipes designed to withstand heat, such as those found near a water heater or heating system.
Long Term Exposure vs. Short Term Risk
Asbestos is a carcinogen and is much more dangerous when people are exposed to it over long periods of time. Any exposure to the substance may be harmful, but like smoking, prolonged exposure increases the risk of developing cancer. The type of cancer that results from exposure to asbestos over many years is called mesothelioma and it affects the linings around important organs such as the lungs, the heart or the stomach.
Get A Trusted Law Firm Representing You In A Mesothelioma Case
If you have worked for many years around materials that contain asbestos and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result, you may be entitled to compensation. We are a firm that is dedicated to representing those who have developed this terrible cancer simply by going to work every day of their lives unaware of the constant risks to their health. We will do whatever it takes to see that you are awarded the maximum value of damages for your case so that you will be able to cover your medical bills and still support yourself if you are unable to continue working. Contact us today to schedule a consultation free of charge so that we can review your case and explain your rights to you.