Going to Work Shouldn’t Put You at Risk for Cancer: What You Need to Know About Asbestos Exposure in the Workplace

August 19, 2014

Certain jobs require people to put their lives on the line. Police officers. Fire and rescue responders. Military personnel. Individuals with these occupations understand that their career choice may put their health in peril, but other professions where the danger is not as well known. The deadly risk is sometimes too small for the naked eye and may infiltrate the body through the air we breathe.

Though approximately 55 countries have banned the use of asbestos, the United States has not. Even today, workers in a variety of different fields continue to be exposed to the potentially deadly material every day.

According to the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), the following professions may be at high-risk for exposure to asbestos:

  • Insulators
  • Electricians
  • Pipefitters
  • Power plant workers
  • Boilermakers
  • Shipyard workers
  • Veterans

And, even though you may not have directly handled asbestos, you may still be at least of exposure if you worked around or near job sites where asbestos or asbestos-containing products were being used. Often referred to as “bystander exposure,” there have been countless documented instances where people have been diagnosed with mesothelioma after indirectly coming into contact with asbestos.

One of the worst aspects of asbestos cancer is that it could take decades for the cancer to manifest. In the case of mesothelioma, a deadly cancer caused by asbestos exposure, it could take thirty years or more. That’s why it’s so important for you to monitor your health if you think you may have been exposed to asbestos in your workplace. The key is to communicate openly with your doctor about your concerns, as well as the fact that you may have come into contact with asbestos. By keeping your doctor as informed as possible, you are helping to advocate for your own health.

It’s also important to educate yourself, your family members and others about the possible dangers of exposure to asbestos. You can start by liking or sharing this blog, or directing people to information about asbestos on our website here.