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Boilermakers - Mesothelioma Risks

During the construction of any large building, it is usually necessary to install a boiler. The people who make and install these large heating vessels are known as boilermakers. Boilermakers also maintain boilers to keep them in good working condition. It is a very specific job, and takes a skilled worker to do the job required. However, there is a dangerous downside to being a boilermaker, and it doesn't have anything to do with the size of the machine or its dangerous moving parts. Boilers have been known to contain asbestos, a harmful mineral material that can lead to a deadly cancer known as mesothelioma.

Asbestos was used in construction and for industrial products because it had valuable qualities that made buildings and products safer. Two of asbestos's most desired qualities are low heat conductivity and resistance to fire, so asbestos quickly became the number one material used to maintain and curb boilers' high heat production and use, and to keep them from catching fire. Even though the use of asbestos was phased out, it still remains in thousands of boilers around the country. That means every time a boilermaker is around an older model of boiler, he or she can be exposed. The asbestos dust can be released into the air, enabling the boilermaker to inhale it very easily, without even being aware. Compounded over many years, the exposure can do significant damage to the body.

When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they stay in the body for good. They become trapped in the lining and tissue of the lungs, called the mesothelium. Chronic exposure means more fibers are trapped every day. These fibers irritate and inflame the mesothelium, causing pain and suffering to the person who is afflicted. The mesothelium can retain the fluids it normally excretes, causing a buildup within the chest cavity and pressure on the lungs that cause breathing problems. Over time, the fibers can cause a malignant mesothelioma tumor to form, taking over the lungs and even other areas of the body as it slowly spreads.

Boilermakers are still at risk for asbestos exposure every time they are around one. To maintain safety, a boilermaker should always use appropriate protective and safety gear when around a boiler, not only for the heat but to stay away from asbestos. If you or a loved one were, or still is, a boilermaker, it is imperative to maintain regular appointments with your primary care physician, or even an oncologist, if you believe you are at high risk for mesothelioma. Routine visits will ensure your health, and also ensure that the cancer is caught early on if it does develop in the future. The earlier mesothelioma is diagnosed, the better the a persons chances are of survival and future health.

It's easy to blame yourself for mesothelioma, but don't feel that way. For years, asbestos companies knew the dangers and risks of their product and did nothing about it in the way of safety or precaution. You may not have even been aware that asbestos was in any of these products at all. Because of the thousands of people who have filed lawsuits against asbestos companies and the laws and regulations put in place for the material, most have gone out of business.

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Workers at Risk for Asbestos Exposure

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

Last Edited: Thu November 14, 2013