Your long-term health may be in danger if you installed, repaired, maintained, or removed boilers with asbestos in or on them. Asbestos was used on boilers until the 1980s, and many older boilers with the mineral fiber continued in service for years or decades. If you worked on or near asbestos-containing boilers and developed an asbestos-related disease, you may be entitled to compensation.
What is a Boiler?
It’s a piece of equipment that heats water or another liquid. It can heat a building by creating hot water or steam which run through radiators. A big enough boiler can create enough steam to turn turbines that generate electricity or power machines used in industrial processes. They can be found in commercial buildings, factories, ships, and homes.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a natural mineral fiber consisting of different shapes and sizes. Asbestos comes from open-pit mines. Raw asbestos is processed and refined into fibers. They’re added to a binding agent to create asbestos-containing materials.
Ancient Greeks first described asbestos use, and it greatly expanded during the Industrial Revolution, World War II, and the post-World War II economic boom. It was used in thousands of products because asbestos fibers are strong, durable, light, and resistant to fire, heat, chemicals, and electricity.
Why is Asbestos Hazardous?
There are many medical conditions that asbestos causes. They mainly develop because the light fibers become airborne and are swallowed or inhaled. Because of their strength and chemical qualities, the human immune system can’t destroy or eliminate them from the body. Over time, scar tissue and inflammation develop in the area. Over years or decades, the fibers’ presence causes genetic mutations in nearby tissues.
Some asbestos-related conditions include:
- Asbestosis: The build-up of scarring of lung tissue becomes so severe it affects the person’s ability to breathe. If the person’s breathing is limited enough, it can significantly reduce the person’s ability to function and cause a permanent, severe disability
- Lung cancer: Cancer tumors in lung tissue can develop due to genetic mutations caused by asbestos fibers’ presence in the body and the immune system’s response to them. This process can take years or decades. Smoking tobacco greatly increases the chances of developing lung cancer in those with asbestos fibers in their lungs
- Mesothelioma: This is a fatal, aggressive cancer afflicts the chest and abdominal cavities’ linings as well as the linings of the lungs, heart, and abdominal organs. Like lung cancer, there may be decades between initial asbestos exposure and diagnosis
If you have a history of asbestos exposure because you worked on or near boilers or lived with someone who did, you should discuss your health with your healthcare professional so they can watch for symptoms of an asbestos-related disease.
How Could I Be Exposed to Asbestos if I Worked On or Near Boilers?
Asbestos-containing products were often used in or on boilers and other related equipment. Asbestos fibers could be released into the air if the products were drilled into, cut, sawed, or pulled apart. As these products age, they become brittle. Fibers could fall out of them due to age, or if the product is disturbed or vibrates due to the boiler’s functioning or the use of a tool.
You need not work directly on the boiler or nearby pipes to be exposed to asbestos fibers. They’re so small and light that they float in the airspace around the boiler and can be carried throughout the area. Those working in asbestos-contaminated areas could bring fibers home with them on their clothes, exposing family members to this cancer-causing substance.
Asbestos products on or in boilers and related fixtures include:
- Insulation covering the outside surface, interior or exterior piping
- Sealants and tapes were used in pipe joints
- Raw asbestos fibers filled holes
- Strings, rope, fabric, gaskets, and cement were on internal components
- Seals around panels or doors to gain access to the boiler’s interior contained asbestos
Asbestos was typically spray or towel-applied by factory workers or those installing, maintaining, or repairing the boiler. Asbestos exposure would be more intense if a boiler was located in an area with little or no ventilation.
Call Us Today for a Free Asbestos Lawsuit Consultation
If you or a family member has an asbestos-related disease because you installed, repaired, or worked near boilers, you may be entitled to compensation for the harm you suffer.
Satterley & Kelley, PLLC will fight hard to protect your legal rights. Contact our Louisville office by calling us toll-free at 855-385-9532. You may also complete our contact form for a free initial consultation.
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