Call us today, phones answered 24/7
Call us today, phones answered 24/7

Asbestos Exposure at Foundries

For years, foundries across the Pacific Northwest used asbestos products in machinery, insulation, construction materials, and safety equipment. Unfortunately, this practice resulted in metal workers developing asbestos-related health problems. Long-term asbestos exposure in foundries can cause deadly diseases such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and chronic lung disease. If you or a loved one has been a victim of asbestos exposure at Washington or Oregon foundries, contact Bergman Oslund Udo Little for a free consultation.

Many Washington and Oregon workers encountered asbestos exposure at foundries. The Pacific Northwest has a long history of metal production. Washington and Oregon residents have found abundant work as metal workers in numerous foundries. Common foundry jobs include sheet working, welding, metal crafting, smelting, and smithing. 

During much of the 20th century, asbestos was commonly used in metal foundries nationwide because of the mineral’s heat resistance. Metal workers often worked with intense heat in the foundry process, and asbestos products proved useful in minimizing fire risks. However, asbestos exposure also causes serious diseases, especially for those exposed for long periods. 

Asbestos exposure can result in several types of cancer, lung disease, and chronic breathing problems. If you are a metal worker or former metal worker who has been exposed to asbestos in a Washington or Oregon foundry, seek the justice and compensation you deserve. The asbestos attorneys at Bergman Oslund Udo Little can help.

Foundries in Washington and Oregon

For decades, metal foundries provided abundant jobs for Washington and Oregon residents. The Pacific Northwest served as a major metal production center across the West Coast. Today, millions of the states’ residents have spent time working in metal production in a foundry. 

These plants operated with little to no oversight on asbestos usage. Its heat- and fire-resistant qualities made the mineral a common material in insulation and other building products during factory construction. 

Many foundries also provided their workers with asbestos-laden safety gear. This equipment included thermal gloves, mitts, protective aprons, and fire-safety blankets. Foundries also issued welders and other metal workers equipment containing asbestos insulation.  In some cases, asbestos was even incorporated into the concrete used for the factory’s foundation. Foundries also often utilized asbestos containing talc in molds along with asbestos containing riser sleeves as an insulating material. 

Unfortunately, asbestos exposure left many metal workers vulnerable to severe health effects. When asbestos materials are cut, sawed, or disturbed, microscopic asbestos particles are released into the air and inhaled by anyone nearby. The use of asbestos materials during the metalworking process greatly increases the risks of asbestos particle exposure among all workers. 

In the 1980s, new regulations provided stricter controls over asbestos use in metalworking and other industries. However, despite knowledge of its dangerous health effects, asbestos is not currently banned in foundries. Fewer foundries incorporate asbestos products today, but anyone who worked in a Washington or Oregon foundry in the 1980s or earlier was likely exposed to unacceptable asbestos levels. 

If you or a loved one was exposed to asbestos in such a foundry, you have the right to meaningful compensation. Under current asbestos-usage laws, the manufacturers of asbestos-containing products may be legally liable for any asbestos exposure.

What Are the Effects of Asbestos Exposure?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring silicate material that forms in unique strands of fibrous crystals. Historically, asbestos has been noted for its high capacity as a thermal and electrical insulator. However, it was not until the 1970s that the dangerous effects of asbestos on human health became widely known. 

Most people are exposed to asbestos by inhaling its microscopic particles. Asbestos dust goes into the lungs, where it can accumulate over time and cause serious health problems.


Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the mesothelium, or the thin tissue that lines the lungs and other internal organs. Mesothelioma is a particularly dangerous form of cancer due to its resistance to chemotherapy, radiation, and other standard treatments. The long-term prognosis for a mesothelioma diagnosis is poor.

Asbestos exposure is the only known cause of mesothelioma.


Asbestosis is a long-term inflammation of the lungs caused by asbestos inhalation. Metal workers exposed to asbestos fibers may suffer permanent lung scarring, which in turn causes chronic inflammation. 

Asbestosis is associated with other chronic pulmonary symptoms, including shortness of breath, chest pain, coughing, and wheezing. Asbestosis can exacerbate influenza and other upper respiratory infections and, in some cases, leads to more severe health problems, including lung cancer and pulmonary artery disease. 

As with mesothelioma, the only known cause of asbestosis is asbestos exposure.

Lung cancer

Breathing in asbestos particles also can cause lung cancer. Like mesothelioma, lung cancer is particularly deadly due to its low survivability rate and treatment difficulty.

Risks of Mesothelioma for Foundry Workers

Washington and Oregon foundry metal workers who suffered asbestos exposure are at greater risk for developing mesothelioma. Because asbestos exposure is the only known cause of mesothelioma, a mesothelioma diagnosis likely means you were exposed to asbestos over a long period. 

Early symptoms of mesothelioma include shortness of breath, chest pains, coughing, wheezing, pain or swelling in your abdomen, unexplained weight loss, and fatigue. Diagnosing mesothelioma can be difficult as its symptoms mirror other conditions. A mesothelioma diagnosis usually involves imaging and a biopsy of lung tissue. 

Treatment for mesothelioma usually involves chemotherapy. Sometimes, patients respond well to radiation therapy and surgery to remove the affected tissue, but these treatments have lower success rates. Early-stage mesothelioma is easier to treat than more advanced cases.

Legal Options for Foundry Workers Exposed to Asbestos

Foundry asbestos exposure can cause life-altering health issues. If you were exposed to asbestos at Washington or Oregon job sites, you must know your legal options to get the compensation you deserve. 

Asbestos exposure cases are a complex and unique area of law. If you suffered asbestos exposure at a foundry, you need a legal team with a proven track record fighting for asbestos victims. Since 1995, the dedicated attorneys at Bergman Oslund Udo Little have fought for Washington and Oregon residents who suffered asbestos exposure through no fault of their own. 

Bergman Oslund Udo Little asbestos attorneys in Oregon have succeeded in securing justice for Pacific Northwest metal workers who suffered from asbestos exposure. 

Our asbestos lawyers in Washington secured a $6.3 million payment for a 61-year-old man diagnosed with mesothelioma. Our client worked at Atlas Foundry in Tacoma, Washington, where he was exposed to asbestos-containing insulation materials used in metal molds and talc products. 

If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma or a related health condition and believe asbestos exposure at a foundry was to blame, you need experienced attorneys in your corner.

Contact Bergman Oslund Udo Little today for a free mesothelioma case review. We know about asbestos. Asbestos law is all we do.

Contact The Firm

Representing asbestos and mesothelioma clients throughout the Northwest.

1355 NW Everett St.
Suite 100
Portland, OR 97204

Scroll to Top