Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was widely used in construction and manufacturing industries for its fire-resistant and insulating properties. However, it has since been discovered that exposure to asbestos fibers can cause serious health problems, including lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.
Pittsburgh, like many other cities in the United States, has a history of industries that relied heavily on asbestos. Workers in steel mills, power plants, shipyards, and construction sites were often exposed to asbestos fibers in the workplace. Even today, many older buildings in Pittsburgh contain asbestos, which can pose a danger to maintenance workers, construction workers, and others who may disturb asbestos-containing materials.
Health Dangers of Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos exposure can cause a number of serious health problems, including lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. These diseases can take decades to develop, and can be fatal. Asbestos fibers are tiny and can easily become airborne when asbestos-containing materials are disturbed. Workers who inhale these fibers are at risk of developing lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. Asbestos exposure is most common in workers who are involved in the renovation or demolition of older buildings, but it can also affect workers who are involved in the manufacturing of asbestos-containing products.
Asbestos in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh has a long history of industrial activity, and many of the buildings in the city were constructed during a time when asbestos was commonly used in construction materials. This means that workers in Pittsburgh are at risk of asbestos exposure if they work in older buildings, particularly those that were built before the 1980s. According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, there were 423 facilities in Pennsylvania that produced or used asbestos-containing materials from 1980 to 2005. Many of these facilities were located in Pittsburgh and other parts of western Pennsylvania.
In addition to industrial facilities, asbestos can also be found in homes and other buildings in Pittsburgh. Asbestos was commonly used in insulation, flooring, and roofing materials, among other things. If these materials are disturbed during renovation or demolition, asbestos fibers can be released into the air and inhaled by workers.
Protecting Workers from Asbestos Exposure
Employers have a responsibility to protect their workers from asbestos exposure. This includes providing protective gear, properly training workers on the hazards of asbestos, and following federal and state regulations for handling asbestos-containing materials. Unfortunately, not all employers take these responsibilities seriously, and workers may be put at risk of developing serious illnesses as a result.
If you work in an industry where asbestos exposure is a possibility, it is important to take the necessary precautions to protect your health. This may include wearing protective clothing and respirators, showering and changing clothes before leaving the workplace, and speaking up if you believe your employer is not following proper safety procedures.
If you have already been exposed to asbestos in the workplace, it is important to speak to a doctor who is experienced in asbestos-related illnesses. These diseases can take decades to develop, so even if you were exposed years ago, you may still be at risk. Early detection is key to treating these illnesses, so it is important to be proactive about your health if you have a history of asbestos exposure.
Asbestos exposure remains a serious concern in many workplaces in Pittsburgh and throughout the country. By taking the necessary precautions and holding employers accountable for providing a safe workplace, we can help prevent further cases of asbestos-related illnesses.
If you have worked in a place with asbestos, contact us today at 412-471-3980 or fill out our contact form. A member of our team will get back to you as soon as possible to review your case.
Article first appeared on gpwlaw.com/news.