Some jobs come with known dangers. Sadly, there are countless jobs that also come with a hidden danger: asbestos.
A common asbestos myth is that victims of asbestos-related diseases neglected to protect themselves while at work. In reality, many hard-working Americans have been exposed to asbestos through no fault of their own. Manufacturers of asbestos-containing products hid the dangers of asbestos for years, putting profits ahead of people and creating the tragic asbestos legacy we see today.
Myth: Workers Did Not Protect Themselves From Asbestos Exposure
Today, workers who handle asbestos wear hazmat suits to prevent exposure to the mineral. But before asbestos was regulated in 1980, companies and individuals were largely unaware of the health problems related to exposure. It's not that they didn't care - they simply did not know that asbestos is a known carcinogenic material.
20th-century workers surely would have taken measures to protect themselves from asbestos exposure if they were made aware of the dangers. Their companies or unions likely would have provided protective equipment. But manufacturers of asbestos-containing products failed to share information about the dangers of asbestos with the public, leading to thousands of cases of mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other asbestos-related diseases that otherwise could have been avoided.
It's easy to blame people for their own health problems by saying that they're sick because they didn’t take care of themselves or heed safety precautions. That thought process is problematic, though, and perpetuates a stigma surrounding people who have various forms of lung cancer. In the case of mesothelioma, people were typically unaware of the risk asbestos exposure posed. Workers who were exposed to asbestos day in and day out were simply never given the chance to protect themselves. If people knew the truth about asbestos, maybe their disease would have been prevented. This is exactly why we advocate for these victims and fight to raise awareness - both now during Global Asbestos Awareness Week 2021, and all year-round.
Show Your Support
To support the efforts of Global Asbestos Awareness Week 2021, we'll continue to release "fact vs. fiction" videos highlighting the common myths surrounding asbestos use each day. Follow along here on our blog as well as on our Facebook and Twitter accounts, and don’t forget to like, share, and comment to show your support for victims of asbestos-related disease. Remember to use the hashtag #2021GAAW and join us as we stand against asbestos.