Mesothelioma and Asbestos Risk for Engineers

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Engineers may have come in contact with asbestos at work. Asbestos was a common additive in many industries, including automotive, construction, power, metalworks and manufacturing. As a result, engineers have an elevated risk of developing asbestos diseases, such as mesothelioma cancer.

01. Asbestos Risk for Engineers

How Are Engineers Exposed to Asbestos?

Many engineering fields may bring workers into contact with asbestos. Engineering positions are present in a wide range of industries. As a result, engineers may experience occupational asbestos exposure. This can happen in many ways, including from construction products, machine parts and industrial jobsites.

Facts About Engineers
  • 2 million engineers in the United States (2018)
  • Asbestos Exposure: Previous and ongoing exposure risk
  • Asbestos-Related Disease Risk: Moderate
  • Similar Occupations: Engineering technologist, architects, machinists, insulators

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were more than two million Americans employed as engineers in 2018. An engineer’s expertise is used in many capacities:

  • Guiding construction
  • Aiding in product design
  • Streamlining workplace practices
  •  Improving the safety and efficacy of any industry

As a result of their work, engineers can be exposed to many hazards, including asbestos. Asbestos exposure can happen while in the office or the field.

Asbestos use was common throughout the 20th century until the 1980s. The mineral was used for its strength and ability to prevent fire and chemical reactions. As a result, it was added to many products.

However, asbestos is also very dangerous. Engineers who inhale or ingest the mineral are at risk of developing asbestos diseases, such as asbestosis or mesothelioma.

What Asbestos Products Put Engineers at Risk?

Asbestos fibers were used in many products. As a result, engineers may have been exposed to asbestos in:

Asbestos product exposure varies based on each field of engineering. For example, civil engineers are most likely to come into contact with asbestos in construction materials. This could include insulation, tiling, piping, electrical equipment or cement.

Even personal protective equipment (PPE) designed to keep workers safe from heat and fire could pose a health risk. For many years, fire-resistant clothing and blankets contained asbestos.

These products were manufactured by many asbestos companies. The companies sold their products to jobsites around the world, increasing the reach of asbestos goods. As a result, many engineers may have come in contact with the dangerous materials.

Engineering is a diverse field, with professionals specializing in many different industries. As a result, engineers may come into contact with products manufactured by any asbestos company. Speaking with a mesothelioma lawyer can help engineers determine who is liable for their asbestos exposure and the resulting disease.

Common Places Asbestos Is Found in the Engineering Industry

Asbestos use was common due to the mineral’s tensile strength, heat resistance and chemical durability. Engineers may have come in contact with the mineral in a range of settings.

As a result, exposure is possible even if an engineer did not work directly with asbestos products. For example, they may be exposed when inspecting and overseeing workers who install or dismantle asbestos products.

Engineers can also be exposed to asbestos materials through older buildings or machinery. Whether the engineer is operating the machine or simply near it, degrading asbestos products may release dust into the air. Asbestos dust contains hundreds of tiny fibers. Once fibers are airborne, they pose a health hazard to anyone nearby.

Engineers who experience asbestos exposure are at increased risk of developing asbestos-related diseases, such as asbestos lung cancer.

Locations in the workplace that often exposed engineers include:

  • Boiler rooms
  • Commercial buildings
  • Construction sites
  • Demolition sites
  • Industrial sites
  • Machine shops
  • Manufacturing plants
  • Public buildings
  • Reactors
  • Ships
  • Shipyards

Asbestos exposure at any level can pose a serious health risk. However, individuals consistently in poorly ventilated areas with asbestos materials are more likely to develop related health problems.

Engineers and At-Risk Trades

Engineers in many different industries risked asbestos exposure. At-risk trades in the engineering industry include:

  • Aerospace engineers
  • Biomedical engineers
  • Chemical engineers
  • Civil engineers
  • Electrical engineers
  • Health and safety engineers
  • Heating engineers
  • Industrial engineers
  • Marine engineers
  • Mechanical engineers
  • Nuclear engineers
  • Operating engineers
  • Petroleum engineers
  • Stationary engineers
  • Waste engineers
  • Water engineers

Those who came into contact with exposed engineers may also face asbestos exposure. This is often a result of asbestos fibers leaving the worksite on an individual’s person. Secondary asbestos exposure can affect a workers’ loved ones and families.

02. Mesothelioma Risk for Engineers

Mesothelioma Risk for Engineers

Engineers of all kinds may be at risk of asbestos exposure. Asbestos exposure levels vary across different engineering disciplines.

According to research published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, engineers may experience an elevated incidence of mesothelioma cancer. Specifically, mechanical engineers have a significantly elevated proportionate mortality ratio (PMR) compared to the general population.

Asbestos Exposure May Increase Incidence of Other Cancers Among Engineers

In addition to elevated mesothelioma risk, asbestos exposure may cause other asbestos cancers.

A retrospective study from 2003 investigated data collected about more than 6,000 marine engineers between 1955 and 1988.

These men not only had a higher incidence of pleural mesothelioma, but they also had a greater frequency of other cancers. The marine engineers experienced stomach, lung and bladder cancers. Researchers attributed the elevated instance to a mix of chemical exposures relating to the occupation.

Several federal agencies have enacted regulations as a result of elevated exposure risk among those who work in industrial, manufacturing and construction industries. These measures are in place to help prevent occupational asbestos exposure in engineers, among others.

Engineers are protected by the same Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards applicable to all workers in the United States.

03. Compensation for Engineers

Compensation for Victims of Occupational Asbestos Exposure

Engineers who were exposed to asbestos at work and developed an asbestos disease as a result often have legal options. Many individuals choose to pursue legal action to gain compensation. Mesothelioma compensation can help engineers pay for medical expenses and lost wages.

There are several ways to gain compensation for asbestos diseases. Compensation options for engineers may include:

A mesothelioma lawyer can help individuals choose the best option for their unique situation.

Engineer and Air Force Veteran Receives More Than $1.9M

A 72-year-old asbestos claimant in Shreveport, Louisiana, received more than $1.9 million in compensation. The claimant served in the Air Force and worked as an engineer.

During their career, the claimant worked at various jobsites, including Delta Manufacturing, Thompson Industries and Western Electric. While working at these jobsites, the claimant faced asbestos exposure and later developed an asbestos-related illness.

Asbestos-exposed engineers should seek medical attention. Individuals who have been diagnosed with a related disease can speak with a mesothelioma law firm to seek compensation from liable companies.