Three Categories of People Most at Risk of Incurring Mesothelioma

July 28, 2018
Three Categories of People Most at Risk

Before asbestos was adequately regulated, it could be found on jobsites and in homes throughout the United States. While asbestos can still be found in a variety of materials today, it was most prevalent between the 1940s and the 1970s. People from all backgrounds could have been exposed to the substance that we now know causes the deadly disease, mesothelioma.

In recent years, mesothelioma diagnoses have flattened out with only about 3,000 new cases cropping up annually. Of course, any number of mesothelioma diagnoses is too high. But, who’s still at a higher risk of being exposed to asbestos? There are generally three main categories of people at risk for mesothelioma.


Asbestos on the jobsite is nothing new. Working with asbestos, however, is one of the primary risk factors for incurring mesothelioma later on in life. Before anyone knew anything about the material’s toxic side, people worked with and around asbestos indiscriminately. Now, of course, we know better, but that doesn’t mean exposure to asbestos is impossible even in today’s work environment.

That’s because asbestos can still be found in a variety of materials that people work with every day. Occupations that pose the greatest risk of asbestos exposure include:

  • Asbestos and insulation workers
  • Cement workers
  • Vehicle mechanics
  • Workers at chemical and petroleum plants and refineries
  • Plumbers
  • Electricians
  • Painters
  • Plasterers
  • Sailors
  • Shipyard workers
  • Oilfield employees
  • Locomotive maintenance workers
  • Power station employees
  • Stationary engineers and firefighters
  • General maintenance workers
  • Paper mill employees
  • Carpenters
  • Welders
  • Pipefitters
  • Construction workers and contractors
  • Masons
  • Floor coverers
  • Boilermakers
  • Drywall workers
  • Iron and steel technicians

While this may seem like a long list, it’s far from exhaustive. There are plenty of industries in which exposure to asbestos can occur.

Family and Friends Exposed to Asbestos Secondhand

Unfortunately, workers aren’t the only people who are at risk of asbestos exposure. Indeed, many individuals who have worked with asbestos bring the substance home in their clothes. Family and friends are at the greatest risk of inhaling or ingesting asbestos brought home by someone who works with it regularly. This is known as secondhand exposure to asbestos and can be just as deadly if the person in question ends up with mesothelioma.
Family and friends aren’t the only ones who can be affected by secondhand exposure. In fact, simply living near manufacturing, mining, or milling facilities increases the risk of exposure. Studies have shown that the amount of asbestos in the air in close proximity to these locations can be up to 100 times larger than most other areas.

Hobbyists and DIYers

The third and final category of people most at risk of asbestos exposure is comprised of hobbyists and do-it-yourselfers. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with wanting to change your brakes or start a garden, you would be surprised how many household items still contain asbestos. Some of these products include:

  • Automobile parts (especially disk brakes and brake linings)
  • Building materials
  • Fireproof clothing
  • Potting soil

If you engage in any of these hobbies, it’s important to take necessary precautions. It’s also important, in general, to monitor your surroundings for asbestos whether you work with it or just know someone who does. Wear proper respiratory gear, keep yourself clean, and be sure to wash your clothes judiciously to avoid exposure to asbestos.

If you or a family member has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, call or email us for a free consultation.