Many people in New Jersey might think the Environmental Protection Agency banned asbestos years ago and that there is no longer an exposure hazard. They are wrong — there was never a total ban, and some products still contain small percentages of asbestos. Furthermore, some imported products contain asbestos, which can cause deadly lung disease.
If you are an industrial worker or if you work in manufacturing or maintenance, in a warehouse, a factory, or in an auto repair shop, you might unknowingly be a victim of chemical exposure. Years of exposure could result in the development of mesothelioma or asbestosis — both are life-threatening diseases.
Which products can expose you to asbestos?
Because asbestos poses a severe health threat, it is crucial for you to know which products could contain asbestos. Depending on your occupation, you might work with the following hazardous materials:
- Construction: Renovating or demolishing any pre-1980 buildings can expose you to asbestos, which could be present in insulation, flooring, plaster and paint. Make sure you wear the necessary personal protective gear — including respiratory equipment with a filter.
- Auto repair: If you are a mechanic, you might not even realize the risk posed by a variety of parts used in cars, trucks, motorcycles and other vehicles. Components that could contain asbestos include gaskets, pipes, clutches and brake pads.
- Talcum powder: Workers involved in the manufacturing of cosmetics and personal hygiene products are vulnerable because talcum powder features as an ingredient in a variety of products. Talc and asbestos deposits appear together in nature, increasing the chances of asbestos being mined along with talc.
- Laboratories: Whether you work in a laboratory as a scientist, a lab assistant or a cleaner, asbestos in fireproof jackets and gloves could be a threat. Even some tabletops or hoods could contain asbestos.
- Fire safety products: When it comes to fire safety, asbestos exposure is a threat to all and not only the firefighters. Heat releases asbestos that is present in fire curtains, fire blankets and fireproof coatings into the air, and breathing in that air increases the risk of illness.
- Fertilizer and potting soil: Although asbestos is not present as part of the composition of fertilizer and potting soil, both could contain vermiculite — an asbestos fiber-containing mineral. For this reason, you should not use these garden products without wearing a mask.
Mesothelioma is a deadly type of lung cancer caused by years of exposure to asbestos. If you have developed this dreaded disease, you might be entitled to financial relief to help you cope with the medical expenses and lost income. A New Jersey workers’ compensation attorney who has experience dealing with mesothelioma cases can provide the necessary support and guidance throughout the pursuit of benefits.