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Asbestos Exposure

Occupational exposure to asbestos is the most common cause of malignant Mesothelioma.

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Asbestos Exposure

Occupational exposure to asbestos is, by far, the most common cause of malignant mesothelioma. A worker's frequency of exposure in the workplace dramatically increases the risk of the disease. While it is not possible to identify all the jobs with enhanced likelihood of exposure to asbestos, these occupations are known to be among the most high risk for asbestos caused mesothelioma.

Naval and Other Maritime Personnel

Asbestos was widely used as insulation for boilers and pipes on ships of all types. Inadequate ventilation increased the exposure levels and risk of mesothelioma for all contracting personnel who worked on ships.

Insulation Manufacturing and Installation Workers

Asbestos was widely used in products designed to insulate against heat and fire. Those who worked in insulation manufacturing plants as well as workers who installed asbestos-based insulation are among those at higher risk for developing mesothelioma.

Boiler Makers, Pipe Fitters and Plumbers

The widespread use of asbestos for heat insulation and fire-proofing exposed many of those who worked with boilers and connecting steam or hot water pipes to have enhanced exposure to asbestos, with the attendant risk of developing mesothelioma.

Ship Builders and Ship Yard Workers

Those who worked in the ship building industry experienced much of the same exposure to asbestos as did those who worked with or around insulation for steam boilers and connecting pipes.


Plaster, drywall and fireproofing materials frequently contained asbestos, and those who manufactured or installed them had increased exposure to asbestos.

Carpenters, Painters and Floor Covering Workers

Many of those who worked in the construction trades were exposed to high levels of asbestos through such common products as plaster, drywall, joint compounds and tapes, roofing, floor tiles, sheet flooring and other asbestos-based products.

Iron Workers

These workers often worked around other tradesmen, such as those described above and were, thus, exposed to higher levels of asbestos. Electricians Most electricians worked in buildings that contained materials made with asbestos, which increased their exposure to it.

Non-Occupational Exposure to Asbestos

Some people who never worked directly with asbestos, or in occupations where exposure to it was common have, nevertheless, developed mesothelioma. Medical literature documents many accounts of people who contracted mesothelioma from simply living near areas where asbestos was mined or asbestos products were manufactured. Because exposure to asbestos can come from dust or fibers on others, contact with asbestos-exposed workers, or their clothing, can cause mesothelioma.

In particular, the spouses and children of workers exposed to asbestos may have been regularly exposed themselves, as airborn asbestos fibers were present in the home and family automobiles. Wives who handled their husbands' asbestos contaminated clothing while doing laundry typically have the highest household risk of developing mesothelioma.

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