Cabinet makers used wood, glue, paint, and other materials to create functional works of art. Unfortunately, many cabinet-making materials contained asbestos during the 20th century.
Asbestos was later linked to serious illnesses like mesothelioma and lung cancer. Repeated exposure to these materials has caused cabinet makers to develop cancer decades after the fact.
How Cabinet Makers Were Put at Risk
Before the advent of mass production, cabinet making was a revered and challenging profession.
Cabinet makers were skilled craftspeople who spent years perfecting their work. They built ornate cabinets and storage units for both commercial and residential settings.
Woodworking — and cabinet making in particular — began relying heavily on asbestos-containing materials in the 1920s. Though these materials improved the cabinet-making process, they also put the crafters’ lives in danger.
Multiple generations of cabinet makers who worked in the mid-20th century were exposed to asbestos on a daily basis.
Despite cabinets being largely mass-produced by the 1980s, woodworking was a thriving hobby for the middle class. Asbestos-based materials were phased out shortly thereafter. However, thousands of crafters and cabinet makers may have already been exposed.
Thankfully, Sokolove Law is here to help get cabinet makers the financial compensation they deserve from the asbestos product manufacturers that harmed them.
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At Sokolove Law, we’ve recovered over $5 Billion for thousands of mesothelioma patients and their families nationwide. Let us get you the results you deserve.
The Dangers of Asbestos Fibers
At the time, asbestos was thought to be the best material available to strengthen and fireproof cabinets. However, when disturbed or damaged, microscopic asbestos fibers can be released into the air. Then, they can inhaled or swallowed.
Once inside the body, the fibers lodge into the protective lining of major organs like the lungs, heart, and abdomen. Over time, the fibers can cause progressive damage to tissue. This damage eventually leads to incurable, long-term diseases.
The more serious ones, like mesothelioma and lung cancer, can be deadly. However, these illnesses normally do not arise until 20-50 years after the initial exposure.
Many manufacturers of asbestos-based products hid the dangerous truth from the public for decades. Due to this corporate secrecy, cabinet makers were never warned to wear protective masks when working with products made with asbestos.
Now, these honest workers may be battling life-threatening diseases.
What Cabinet-Making Products Contain Asbestos?
Professional cabinet makers and skilled hobbyists alike spent long periods of time in cramped, dusty garages and shops. They would cut, saw, and sand the materials needed to make cabinets for hours. This created unavoidable clouds of dust laced with toxic asbestos fibers.
The wood used to make the cabinets did not contain asbestos. However, many other materials used to assemble and refine them did. These materials made the cabinets dangerous to human health.
Cabinet-making products that used asbestos included:
- Paints and finishes
- Paper linings in their interiors
- Veneers on cabinet exteriors
Cabinet Makers and On-the-Job Asbestos Risks
Outside of their homes, shops, or factories, cabinet makers often worked on construction sites. This meant they could be exposed through the activities of other tradespeople who worked with asbestos-containing construction materials.
Common materials on worksites that used asbestos included:
- Ceiling and floor tiles
- Machinery, brake pads, and gaskets
Cabinet workers were also at risk on renovation sites. The removal of old building materials could release asbestos fibers into the air.
Today, asbestos is not frequently used on construction sites, but the risk still exists on renovation jobs. Without proper knowledge on how to handle asbestos, workers could be seriously harmed.
Whether installing, removing, or renovating, thousands of these workers were exposed to asbestos fibers throughout their careers. They were unaware that unseen fibers could eventually kill them.
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At-Risk Roles in the Cabinet-Making Industry
Cabinet makers themselves were not the only ones at risk. Depending on where the work was done, their families and other workers could have been in danger too.
Other groups at risk of exposure from cabinet making include:
Families of Cabinet Makers
The immediate family of a cabinet maker may have been put at risk in several ways.
- If cabinet making was done as a hobby, it was more likely done at home. Asbestos-containing materials could have been found or stored at home, inadvertently exposing the cabinet maker’s loved ones in the process.
- If the cabinet maker worked in the construction industry or in a factory, asbestos fibers and dust could cling to their clothes or skin. When they returned home from work, their family members could be exposed to the fibers.
Skilled Trade Workers
Those who work in the home improvement or construction industries could have been put at risk if they disturbed cabinets made with asbestos.
Renovators, electricians, and plumbers are some of the groups that are at risk. If they were repeatedly exposed to asbestos, these workers could also carry it home to their families through their clothes.
Help for Cabinet Makers Exposed to Asbestos
After decades in business, the cabinet-making industry has left several groups of people at risk. With each passing year, the risk for older or retired cabinet makers getting sick increases.
For many victims of asbestos exposure and their family members, the most important thing is to seek treatment for the diseases they now face. Unfortunately, many cannot afford the unexpected and high cost of treatment.
It is for this reason that many choose to pursue legal action against the manufacturers of asbestos-containing products. These companies profited knowing that thousands of Americans could get sick from using their products.
This is where mesothelioma law firms can help. Sokolove Law has over 40 years of experience helping asbestos exposure victims and their families.
Our asbestos exposure lawyers have recovered over $5 Billion for clients affected by asbestos-related diseases.
Cabinet Makers and Asbestos FAQs
What are the risks of asbestos exposure?
Asbestos is now known to be a harmful carcinogen or cancer-causing substance. Even trace amounts of asbestos are unsafe, and symptoms may not develop until 20-50 years after exposure.
It is the cause of mesothelioma, a rare cancer that grows in the thin lining of delicate organs, such as the heart, lungs, and stomach.
Exposure to asbestos can also cause other serious illnesses including lung cancer and asbestosis.
If you've been diagnosed with an asbestos-related cancer or disease, contact Sokolove Law now. We've helped thousands of families get the compensation they need for treatment.
What are the symptoms of mesothelioma?
In its early stages, mesothelioma symptoms are often mistaken for the common cold or seasonal flu.
That is why it is so important for cabinet makers and other workers who may be at an increased occupational risk of asbestos exposure to be mindful of symptoms.
Common symptoms of mesothelioma include:
- Chest pain
- Chronic cough
- Shortness of breath
- Vomiting and nausea
- Weight loss
If you are experiencing trouble breathing and were exposed to asbestos, visit a doctor as soon as possible to begin the screening process for asbestos-related illnesses.
Is asbestos still used in furniture and cabinet making?
Regulations and safety measures led to a widespread understanding of the dangers of asbestos by the late 1980s. Asbestos was phased out of construction materials after that.
However, many cabinet makers, carpenters, and construction workers may be exposed to asbestos in small amounts or when working on old renovation sites where asbestos-containing materials are still present.
Call us at (800) 647-3434 if you were exposed and are suffering from asbestos-related illnesses. We can help you get the compensation you need for treatment.