Veterans Assistance

Grinding Machine Operators - Mesothelioma Risks

You can probably find a grinding machine operator anywhere there is metal; scrap metal sites, construction sites, and car manufacturing are all places where grinding machine operators are employed. Grinding machine operators work with metal and do exactly that—grind it down with a machine. They may shape metal for parts, make something fit better, or just create scrap metal. Adding to the dangers that are already present on the job, it has been found that past and current grinding machine operators may have been exposed to asbestos, a harmful mineral material that was used in a variety of metals and metal coatings for many decades. Asbestos can lead to the development of mesothelioma, a rare cancer that affects more than 3,000 people each year.

Asbestos was added to these materials to make it stronger, durable and heat resistant. Many of these products may still contain asbestos, putting operators at risk every day. Asbestos fibers can easily be released during the grinding machine process; typically, fibers can be released anytime the material is disturbed. These fibers are small but deadly, and can easily be breathed in without the operator even realizing it. Even if he or she is wearing protective gear, the fibers can remain in the air for hours, or be transferred to clothing and be breathed in anytime later on.

Once inside the body, asbestos fibers become embedded in the lungs and the tissues and membranes that protect them. They remain there for years, because the body cannot dissolve or digest them. Prolonged exposure will continue to build up fibers in the body, leading to various health problems down the road. Asbestos is a carcinogen, which is a cancer-causing toxic substance. Aside from its other risks, it is this factor that leads to the development of mesothelioma.

It is estimated that more than 8 million people in the United States have already been exposed to asbestos. Although the material was banned for use in 1980, it can still be found in thousands of products, materials, buildings and homes, and it continues to pose a threat to workers in many occupations, including grinding machine operators. Although mesothelioma may not develop in every single person, there is still the risk for it and other asbestos diseases. Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer, because it is usually detected after it has progressed to the most serious stages.

Mesothelioma tumors can grow to be the size of one or both lungs, and can even permeate into the abdominal cavity to more organs. Many people do not even know this is happening. Symptoms of mesothelioma are often similar to those of the flu, a cold, or signs of aging. Potential victims may not seek medical help, instead self-medicating and making the problems worse. Many others simply do not connect their asbestos exposure—some are unaware of it altogether—and neglect to inform their physician about it. Without this fact, a doctor won't know what to test for, and can easily misdiagnose the patient.

Asbestos companies urged metal makers for years to include asbestos in their products. They were aware of the risks of asbestos the entire time, but failed to tell anyone about it, the government included. Thousands of families have suffered devastating losses to mesothelioma, and many more will in the future. Over 500,000 lawsuits have been filed regarding asbestos, and you can be a part of it, too. Contact a lawyer to see what your rights are regarding personal injury related to asbestos exposure.


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