Labor Day is a time to honor the achievements of the nation’s workers. However, at Sokolove Law we believe this workingman’s holiday is also a time to remember all workers who were injured on the job, especially those exposed to asbestos.
The human cost of asbestos exposure is staggering. In the U.S., it is estimated that 27 million workers were exposed to airborne asbestos fibers between 1940 and 1979, according to data from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Since asbestos was so widely used in building materials for most of the 20th century, many tradespeople including plumbers may have been exposed.
Plumbers install, maintain, and repair piping and fixtures in connection with water, gas, sewage, and drainage systems. Since some plumbing products once contained materials made with asbestos, plumbers who worked before the early 1980s may be at high risk for asbestos exposure.
Durable, fireproof, and cheap, asbestos was included in many products used by plumbers. Asbestos-containing material was often used in pipeline wrap, cement pipe, pipe insulation, and block insulation on components such as boilers and hot-water tanks, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
When plumbers cut into asbestos-containing materials, microscopic fibers can be released into the air and easily inhaled. If inhaled, asbestos fibers can become embedded in the lungs and other internal organs where they can cause scarring. This eventually leads to life-threatening health problems including mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer.
Symptoms of mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases such as asbestosis make take up to 40 years to appear after exposure. As a result, plumbers exposed to asbestos in the 1960s and 1970s are only now being diagnosed with these diseases.
Plumbers continue to face the possibility of asbestos exposure, particularly when working on older plumbing and systems. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that around 1.3 million workers in the construction and general industry trades are at risk of exposure while on the job.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and believe you were exposed to asbestos working as a plumber, you may be entitled to financial compensation. To learn more about your legal options, contact Sokolove Law for a free consultation.