Although the use of asbestos is frequently associated with heat- and fire-protective applications, asbestos has also been widely used in construction and carpentry trades. Asbestos was used as a reinforcing and binding agent in many plastics and cements used in the construction industry, and carpenters often encountered the material in the following products:
- Finishing cements
- Patching plasters
- Roofing materials such as shingles and adhesives
Almost every product used by carpenters before the mid-seventies or early 1980s had the potential of containing asbestos, which scientists and doctors now know is the agent responsible for the rare form of cancer known as mesothelioma. Not until 1977, when the Consumer Product Safety Commission began to regulate the use of asbestos in construction products, was asbestos limited or banned in most of these applications. And even then, the ban simply prevented the manufacture of new products using asbestos; previously manufactured stockpiles of asbestos-containing supplies continued to be used until the mid-eighties. Clearly, carpenters and other building tradesmen were at risk of exposure to the lethal material for many, many decades in America.
Indeed, the record of asbestos exposure and mesothelioma among carpenters is a grim one. While finish carpenters–working mainly on furniture and cabinetry–were spared asbestos exposure, rough carpenters– working on all manner of building projects for commercial and residential applications –roofers, and shipbuilders experienced asbestos exposure on a daily basis.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are approximately 901,200 carpenter jobs in the United States today. And, with 70 percent of the asbestos used in the U.S. today being in the construction industry, the dangers of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses are still grave. If the hazard is not recognized and if occupational health & safety standards are not enforced, carpenters can still develop mesothelioma symptoms by being exposed to asbestos in materials fabricated before the mid-80s or even today.
Simmons Hanly Conroy Helps Carpenters and Their Families
Simmons Hanly Conroy cares passionately for victims of mesothelioma and has devoted nearly a decade of our practice towards helping these individuals find justice, and oftentimes compensation, for their suffering and family trauma. Our pro-bono work, advocacy for mesothelioma victims, and support for mesothelioma research are all ways we strive to battle mesothelioma and make the world a better, healthier place. Contact us today if you or a loved one is dealing with the effects of asbestos exposure related to carpentry work.