Between 1990 and 1999, the railroad industry was the fourth most frequently listed industry on the death certificates of individuals over 15 years of age who died from asbestosis. Much research has shown that those afflicted with asbestosis – a scarring of the lungs due to asbestos fiber inhalation – have a greater risk of developing malignant mesothelioma cancer. This frightening statistic about asbestosis deaths for railroad workers late in the 20th century is not surprising given the history and nature of the railroad industry – an industry that has routinely utilized asbestos products for heat shielding and insulation.
For over 100 years, starting at the dawning of the age of the steam locomotive, asbestos materials have helped enable success of the railroad industry. Like any other industry that required heat protection for machinery and human life, the railroad industry relied on asbestos for the production of carriages and engine parts, and for insulation protection against heat generated by steam and coal-powered engines.
The railroad industry used asbestos to insulate machinery and pipes throughout the train system, and lined entire passenger cars with asbestos – within walls, ceilings, and in the form of floor tiles. Many of the parts required for trains to function were also composed of asbestos, including brake shoes and gaskets. The gaskets were often custom-cut to size by railroad workers, and when asbestos products are cut into, small asbestos fibers are released into the air. These fibers were not only inhaled by the worker doing the cutting, but also by anyone who happened to be in the area.
All these applications of asbestos within locomotives exposed workers of many kinds to asbestos on a daily basis, making railroad work particularly deadly in regards to asbestos exposure. These workers included:
- Train yardsmen
- Train builders
Simmons Hanly Conroy Helps Railroad Workers and Their Families
Research conducted over the past two decades shows that railroad workers have a considerably higher chance than the general population of developing diseases associated with asbestos exposure including asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. Given the long latency period of asbestos-related diseases, there remains a very good possibility that thousands of mesothelioma cases have yet to emerge for those who worked within the railroad system of America.
If you or a loved one believe you may have been exposed to asbestos during your career as a railroad worker, contact us today to schedule a free legal consultation with one of our experienced asbestos attorneys. We’ll help you learn more about mesothelioma and it’s relation to asbestos exposure among railroad workers.
Railroad Worker Asbestos Exposure Resources
- Mesothelioma as an Occupational Lung Disease
- Mesothelioma and Women: The Truth Behind Take-Home Exposure
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