What industries pose a risk of asbestos exposure?

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By now, most people in Oregon and Washington know that asbestos is a dangerous cancer-causing substance.

However, for many reasons, it has taken time for people to realize the harmful effects of asbestos. Many people in the region therefore may have been exposed to the tiny fibers of asbestos which are now well-known to be toxic when inhaled.

Because asbestos is resistant both to heat and to oxidation, many industries used it as a matter of routine for decades.

Today, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, those who work in ship building and repair or the construction industry may come across asbestos while on the job.

In particular, people working on ships built before 2002 are likely to run across asbestos while doing their duties, and ships built even as late as 2010 may contain the substance. The ship building and repair business is important to the economy of the Pacific Northwest.

Because of its durability under heat and the elements, asbestos also was used as insulation and for other purposes in buildings. A construction worker demolishing or renovating an older building may be exposed to asbestos.

Other industries, including automobile manufacturing, manufacturing of insulation and textiles and the fabrication of building parts and certain machinery also historically have used asbestos.

Mesothelioma may take decades to develop in one’s system

Even if a person worked in one of these industries decades ago, he or she could still develop mesothelioma or some other asbestos-related medical condition.

For example, mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining around the lungs, can take up to 70 years after an asbestos exposure to develop. On average, people develop the condition 30 to 40 years after asbestos exposure.

It is totally fair for someone recently diagnosed to attribute this cancer to his or her much earlier work in a shipyard or with a construction company.

After a mesothelioma diagnosis, a victim may have the ability to pursue a number of parties for compensation.

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