Asbestos in the Construction Industry

Asbestos is a silicate mineral that had proven to be very effective in a number of industries before people realized the dangers involved with its usage. Before it came under strict regulation, asbestos was a vital component of the construction industry, including many different trades involved in the building process.
Asbestos fibers are divided into two families, with six total members. First, the serpentine group contains only chrysotile. This is the most commonly found form of asbestos. Serpentine fibers tend to lay in sheets and form layers. The other group is the amphibole family. It contains amosite, crocidolite, anthophyllite, tremolite, and actinolite. This family is characterized by the chain-like structure they form. From this family, amosite is the next most common asbestos fiber, and crocidolite is typically considered the most dangerous.
This substance was incredibly popular in the construction industry due to its characteristics as both a silicate mineral as well as its own properties. Silicates are known for their wonderful insulating properties because it protects against heat, fire, chemicals, electricity and degradation. Asbestos fibers have the additional benefits of having high tensile strength as well as flexibility. All of these combined to make a seemingly attractive substance for use in construction.
There are many things in which construction-related asbestos can be found. These include:
Drywall
Joint compound
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Texture coats
Caulk
Counter tops
Pipes
Vinyl floor tiles
These are just a few of the many things that include asbestos. Because people considered it such a useful substance, it was added to a number of different things as an insulator throughout the 19th and early to mid 20th centuries.
There are several construction trades that are more at risk for exposure than others. Plumbers, pipefitters, insulators, electricians, steel workers, sheet metal workers, painters, roofers, and bricklayers are considered more likely to come into contact with the substance. However, anyone, including regular construction workers, can encounter the dangerous material during processes such as renovation, remodeling, and even demolition of buildings that were constructed before the ban on asbestos.
Two governmental organizations help protect construction workers from asbestos exposure. First, the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, guards the general public (including construction workers) from airborne asbestos fibers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, established rules to limit the amount of asbestos exposure that workers undergo. Additionally, it regulates the way employers control asbestos exposure assessment regarding things like medical record preservation and hazard reporting.
Sadly, many people in the construction industry were exposed to asbestos before the EPA and OSHA set these regulations. Asbestos exposure can cause deadly diseases like lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. If you or someone you know has suffered from mesothelioma, you should speak to a lawyer regarding your rights. Talk to a mesothelioma lawyer at Williams Kherkher today to help you.

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