Survivors Book

Appliance Installers - Mesothelioma Risks

The number one cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure. In fact, about nine out of every ten cases of mesothelioma are due to some form of asbestos exposure. The other ten percent of cases generally have suspected but unconfirmed exposure to the material. It follows that the people who are at the highest risk of developing mesothelioma are the people who are around airborne asbestos for the longest periods of time.

Asbestos exposure is most common in the workplace. People who mine or process asbestos-containing materials are at the highest risk of developing mesothelioma. Unfortunately, workers who install appliances are included on the list of people who may be at risk of asbestos exposure, and thus mesothelioma. This is mainly because many appliances use asbestos for insulation purposes. Additionally, the installation of many appliances requires working with materials that might contain asbestos, including pipe insulation, heat-resistant tiles, and fireproof siding. While the material is highly effective when used in a variety of appliances, it is equally as dangerous when exposed to the workers building and maintaining those appliances. Even the smallest amount of exposure to asbestos should not be confused as a "safe amount," as there is no such thing. Higher exposure means a higher likelihood of mesothelioma, but even those who have had limited exposure to the material should consult with a doctor.

Mesothelioma is a very rare disease. It is the cancer of the mesothelium - the thin tissue that lines the lungs, heart and body cavities, most often affecting the mesothelium of the pleura. Mesothelioma's deadliness is directly related to the pleura's proximity to the lungs and the fact that asbestos exposure usually involves particles or fragments entering and staying lodged in the airway.

When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they lodge themselves in the deepest parts of the lungs, and force their way into the mesothelium of the pleura. The body's immune system attempts to remove the fibers, but they are very resilient, and resist the chemical and physical attacks of white blood cells. They then cause damage to the surrounding tissue. Lung and mesothelioma tissue becomes scarred, inflaming the area and making breathing difficult and painful. The asbestos fibers might also cause damage to the DNA of the cells of the mesothelium. This damage can translate into mutations that cause the cells to grow without order. This uncontrolled growth creates a deadly tumor that can invade and interfere with essential organs.

Since the body has such a difficult time removing tiny asbestos fibers, they can often stay in the lungs and the mesothelium for decades. The mutations that cause mesothelioma can therefore be the result of a lifetime of damages. The disease is particularly troubling because it often doesn't become evident until many years after the initial asbestos exposure. Furthermore, the onset of symptoms - such as difficulty breathing and pain in the lower back and chest - only occurs at the later stage of the disease. So, by the time the cancer is noticed, it is often too late to significantly counteract the affects. For these reasons, mesothelioma usually carries a very poor prognosis.

If you have worked as an appliance installer, you should take a closer look at the products that you have been putting into homes. If they involve any form of insulation, there is a chance that they might contain asbestos in some form or another. You should also be careful of the materials that you work with - don't drill, hammer or cut any material that might contain asbestos without taking the proper precautions. If you do believe that you were exposed to asbestos, it is important that you let your doctor know as soon as possible.


Workers at Risk for Asbestos Exposure

Below are a list of occupations and trades that were at risk for asbestos exposure:

Last Edited: Sun July 26, 2020