During the twentieth century many industries incorporated asbestos into their products and methods because the inexpensive, naturally-occurring mineral was strong, non-conductive and resistant to heat and flame. Asbestos filler was used in thousands of products used in industries such as the construction industry, auto manufacturing, aircraft manufacturing and the shipbuilding industry. Welders, the skilled tradesmen who work to fuse metal parts together, often worked on welding projects within these industries.
Welders in all industries may have faced exposure to asbestos. The dangerous mineral was in many of the tools and materials used by welders because of the high temperatures and flame required by the welding process. While the quantity of asbestos materials may vary for welders from industry to industry, asbestos was commonly used in welding rods that were used by welders across all industries. Welding rods are used to adhere two pieces of metal together during the welding process and were often coated with asbestos in addition to commonly being manufactured to contain asbestos. During the welding process, welders create clouds of smoke made up of tiny particles of the materials being welded. When these particles of asbestos were released in the air, they could easily be inhaled or ingested by the welder. Once asbestos fibers make their way into the body they can become lodged in organ tissue causing inflammation and scarring that can lead to mesothelioma cancer, lung cancer, asbestosis and other illnesses.
Welders may have also been exposed to asbestos by the protective clothing they wore on the job. Asbestos was often used to make blankets, gloves, and aprons to protect workers against heat and flame. Welders who wore this protective gear risked asbestos exposure as the clothing became worn or damaged releasing asbestos fibers into the air.
Sadly, in the United States, millions of people have been exposed to asbestos. Because it generally takes 10 to 60 years from the time of asbestos exposure for mesothelioma symptoms to appear, we are only now seeing the terrible effects of asbestos use.
Trust funds have been established by many companies to pay compensation to those injured by asbestos exposure.
If you have mesothelioma, or other asbestos-related injury, and wish to consult an attorney about your legal rights to compensation, CLICK HERE for a free consultation.