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6 jobs with high risks of asbestos exposure

Asbestos has long been known to cause serious health problems for people who breathe in the fibers. Exposure can lead to lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis, all of which can be aggressive, fatal illnesses.

Many people are exposed through their occupations. In fact, a number of jobs put workers at a considerably higher risk of asbestos exposure than others do. Below are some of the occupations for which the risk of being exposed to asbestos is especially high.

  • Auto mechanics
  • Construction workers
  • Railroad workers
  • Shipbuilders
  • Miners
  • Workers in oil refineries

While there are policies and practices in place today that limit exposure in these and other industries, it wasn't always this way. Before the 1980s, work environments, particularly in the above-mentioned occupations, could be riddled with unsafe conditions and lax or ignored rules on asbestos use and handling. Further, workers were not always notified about the presence of asbestos; if they were, the risks may not have been clearly explained. 

The true impact of these substandard and inadequate practices may only now be coming to a head, as the symptoms of asbestos-related illnesses can take as long as 50 years to start showing up.

This means that if you or a loved one worked in an occupation where you were exposed to asbestos decades ago, you are still at risk of being diagnosed with a catastrophic illness.

Any person who could be or has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness would be wise to consult an attorney regarding the options to file a legal claim. In many cases, it is possible for victims to collect workers' compensation and/or compensation from a third-party lawsuit. Money cannot undo the exposure or diagnosis, but it can help victims and their families cover the cost of treatment and cope with the damages caused by the illness.

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