Anyone who is exposed to fibrous asbestos can acquire life threatening illnesses such as asbestos lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis, and more. The people who usually have developed an asbestos related disease are those who were regularly exposed to asbestos fibers while at work.
Regular exposure is most common amongst workers who either handle asbestos or breathe it in regularly. Some victims of asbestos related diseases have become ill as a result of only a couple of months of asbestos exposure. Nonetheless, the majority of mesothelioma cases have occurred after more lengthy high level exposure to asbestos.
Over the years, many millions of workers were subjected to dangerous asbestos exposure in the workplace. Those most at risk have been in the shipbuilding, steel mill, plumbing, electrical, milling, mining, and insulation industries as well as in those in the armed forces.
In the military, navy veterans are those most at risk to develop mesothelioma because of the probability of being exposed to asbestos was so high on navy ships.
In addition, people who work in the demolition industry, those who remove drywall, and people who fight fires are also at risk of being exposed to asbestos while working.
State governments as well as the federal government now recognize the serious health risk associated with being exposed to asbestos. Consequently a number of regulations and laws have been established.
The federal agency that protects workers by enforcing workplace exposure laws is OSHA – the Occupational and Safety Health Administration. OSHA regulations define the amount of asbestos exposure that is still permissible in the workplace.
OSHA says that being exposed to 0.1 fibers of asbestos per cubic centimeter over an 8 hour workday and 1 fiber of asbestos per cubic centimeter in any 30 minutes is the maximum workplace exposure level that is permissible.
In addition, laws are now in place that mandate employers provide their workers with respiratory equipment and protective clothing. Employers must also provide adequate hygiene facilities so that workers can wash off the fibers that cling to their clothing. Safety training as well as routine health exams are also required by law.
It often takes anywhere from 25 to 40 years from the time someone was exposed to asbestos until the time the resulting disease becomes apparent. Anyone who has developed a disease or serious illness as a result of being exposed to asbestos in the workplace has the right to legally pursue an asbestos lawsuit in order to be compensated for their suffering and their losses.