Asbestos and Construction Products
Continued from: Asbestos Exposure
Construction products are often found to contain dangerously high levels of asbestos materials. Chrysotile asbestos, also known as blue asbestos, is the type most commonly associated with construction products because of the belief that it poses less of a threat than the other five types of asbestos. Chrysotile asbestos is a type of serpentine mineral, meaning that it has a curled fiber formation and is therefore less friable (brittle) than other types of asbestos (amphibole minerals).
Construction workers have been faced with chrysotile asbestos exposure through a wide variety of building materials, some of which include:
- Acoustical ceilings
- Sheetrock taping
- Floor tiles
- Ceiling tiles
- Plasters and stuccos
- Putty and caulk
- Mud and texture coats
Construction workers most likely to be faced with some type of exposure to asbestos materials include insulators, plumbers, pipe fitters, sheet metal workers and electricians; however, all construction workers face a certain degree of exposure risk. The fibrous metamorphic mineral remains in use throughout a variety of construction products, notably roof paneling and packing gaskets.
Construction workers are advised to take precautions when working with materials that are suspected to contain asbestos. The employers of construction workers are required to provide special training (typically one to four days worth) during which construction workers learn about how to best protect themselves against dangerous exposure to asbestos. Employers who do not provide special training for their workers face the risk of personal injury litigation if their negligence creates a safety hazard for their employees.
Construction Workers Asbestos Lawsuits
Construction workers who have been faced with exposure to asbestos and have developed an asbestos-related disease might find themselves eligible for compensation. Construction workers suffering from an asbestos-related disease are advised to contact an asbestos attorney so as to get information about their possible right to compensation.
Although asbestos was officially recognized as a hazardous airborne pollutant and regulated under section 112 of the Clean Air Act in 1970, use of the mineral group has not been completely outlawed. Asbestos materials are still used legally throughout a variety of products. Levels of asbestos in these products are typically less than 1 percent; however, if enough of that 1 percent is released into the atmosphere, it could potentially result in widespread asbestos exposure.
As late as 1989, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated the amount of asbestos used in products to be in excess of 55,000 tons per year. The use of asbestos friction materials in brake linings and brake pads was not prohibited until late 2003. Although limited in concentration, asbestos-laden materials and products are more than capable of causing dangerous levels of exposure.