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Mesothelioma and Asbestos Risk for Carpenters

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Carpenters may have been exposed to asbestos through many construction and consumer products. Asbestos was a common additive to these products throughout the 20th century. Asbestos exposure can pose a serious health risk to carpenters and similar professionals.

01. Asbestos Risk for Carpenters

How Are Carpenters Exposed to Asbestos?

Carpenters may have been exposed to asbestos through contact with asbestos-contaminated products. Asbestos was frequently used in construction products to provide heat resistance, durability and insulation.

Asbestos was used in these products from the early 1900s through about 1980. As a result, carpenters were likely to come into contact with asbestos materials at work.

Asbestos regulations introduced in the late 1970s curbed usage and banned certain applications. However, there is not a full ban on the mineral. Today, carpenters may be at risk of exposure to previously installed asbestos products on older buildings.

Contact with asbestos materials can lead to serious conditions such as mesothelioma.

Facts About Carpenters
  • 1,024,100 carpenters in the United States (2019)
  • Asbestos Exposure: Previous and ongoing exposure risk
  • Asbestos-Related Disease Risk: Moderate
  • Similar Occupations: Architects, construction workers, carpet and flooring installers, drywall installers, interior designers, insulation workers, millwrights, masons

What Asbestos Products Put Carpenters at Risk?

Carpenters may have come into contact with several asbestos products during their work. Carpenters are responsible for constructing, installing and repairing structures made of wood and other materials.

These activities may have led to asbestos exposure. For example, asbestos was commonly used in products such as insulation and flooring underlayments. It was also used in many asbestos vinyl products.

Carpenters may have disturbed these materials while constructing walls or laying flooring. Renovation projects may also have exposed and disturbed the asbestos fibers in these products. Some of these materials present more of a health risk than others.

For example, asbestos vinyl floor tiles are often less friable than asbestos insulation. Friability is a measure of how easily a material crumbles under small amounts of pressure. Higher-friability products pose a high risk to carpenters’ health because they release more asbestos dust.

However, low-friability products can still pose a threat to carpenters. For example, using power tools to grind down tiles and other low-friability products will release asbestos particles.

Carpenters may have been exposed to asbestos from:

These products were produced and sold by many asbestos companies. These companies put the health of workers and consumers at risk. In many cases, asbestos disease victims can seek compensation from a company.

Manufacturers of Asbestos Products Used by Carpenters

Common Places Carpenters May Come Into Contact With Asbestos

Carpenters are most likely to come into contact with asbestos on jobsites, including homes and schools. These buildings were often constructed before the asbestos regulations of the late 1970s. As a result, carpenters who worked/still work on these buildings may come into contact with asbestos.

Locations that often exposed carpenters include:

  • Attics
  • Basements
  • Commercial buildings
  • Construction sites
  • Homes
  • Industrial facilities
  • Public buildings
  • Renovation sites
  • Schools
  • Walls

Carpenters working in enclosed areas are most at risk. These areas provide low levels of ventilation, which may increase the concentration of asbestos dust in the air. Conversely, carpenters working on the framing stage of a home or building may be at less risk of exposure because the walls are not yet erected. However, no matter the amount of ventilation, there is no safe level of asbestos exposure.

Carpenters and At-Risk Trades

Carpenters and other tradesmen may have come into contact with asbestos on construction industry jobsites. For example, cutting, sanding and repairing walls with asbestos drywall panels or insulation may put carpenters at increased risk of asbestos exposure. When asbestos products are dismantled or otherwise disturbed, fibers may be released into the air.

At-risk trades in the carpentry industry include:

Workers may also accidentally expose their family members to asbestos through secondary exposure. This occurs when carpenters with asbestos particles on their person come into contact with loved ones. Secondary exposure can result in an asbestos disease.

02. Mesothelioma Risk for Carpenters

Mesothelioma Risk for Carpenters

Carpenters working on or around asbestos products may be at risk of developing diseases, such as mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer. These diseases can develop after asbestos exposure, no matter the level or frequency.

A British study measured the asbestos fiber concentrations in samples of lung tissue from several occupational groups, including carpenters. Different types of asbestos are used in various products. Carpenters had the highest proportion of amosite asbestos, which is often used in temperature-resistant products, such as insulation and ceiling tiles.

Pleural Effusion Resulting From Carpenter's Asbestos Exposure

A 2010 case report detailed a 55-year-old carpenter’s occupational lung diseases. In 2000, the man developed pleurisy with pleural effusion on the right lung. The same happened on the left lung in 2003. He was occupationally exposed to asbestos in 1971 while working with asbestos cement roofing sheets. While pleural effusion can be caused by other factors, the case authors noted it was most likely caused by the occupational exposure.

While any level of asbestos exposure can be dangerous, higher levels are more likely to cause asbestos diseases. However, there is no safe level of asbestos exposure.

Even carpenters who did not work directly with asbestos products may still have experienced exposure. Any amount of asbestos exposure can lead to diseases such as asbestosis or asbestos cancer.

03. Compensation for Carpenters

Compensation for Victims of Occupational Asbestos Exposure

Carpenters with an asbestos disease may be eligible to receive compensation. Compensation eligibility requirements vary across mesothelioma claim types.

Common claim types include:

Any of these may result in compensation for the asbestos victim or their family. Seeking compensation can provide funds to cover medical costs and cover lost wages.

Notable Asbestos Compensation Awards for Carpenters

Notable asbestos awards for carpenters include:

  • A Columbus, Mississippi, carpenter and maintenance worker experienced asbestos exposure beginning in 1948 through his work at Joe Brown Construction Company. He worked at Joe Brown until 2011, while also holding various other jobs at Johnston Tombigbee Furniture and Mitchell Engineering. His exposure at these jobs resulted in an asbestos disease. He was ultimately awarded about $820,000.
  • A Tampa, Florida, engineer and carpenter experienced asbestos exposure from his work at Continental Can Company and Willie Crouch Construction. His exposure at both companies took place from 1970 to 1971. His exposure ultimately resulted in an asbestos disease. He filed a lawsuit and was awarded about $739,000 in compensation.
  • A New York jury awarded $19 million to carpenter David Konstantin for his case of testicular mesothelioma. Konstantin and his wife, Ruby, filed a lawsuit against Tishman Liquidating Corporation, the liability holder for his previous employer, Tishman Realty. Konstantin worked for Tishman Realty from 1973 to 1977. Konstantin worked on high-profile construction projects, including the Olympic Tower in Midtown Manhattan. The Konstantins were ultimately awarded $8 million.

Carpenters wishing to file an asbestos lawsuit should contact a mesothelioma law firm. Experienced mesothelioma lawyers can assist individuals with determining claim eligibility, filing a claim and resolving the case.