Mesothelioma May Be a Risk For Plumbers and Pipefitters

Mesothelioma Can Be A Big Risk For Plumbers and Pipefitters

Mesothelioma May Be a Risk For Plumbers and Pipefitters

Mesothelioma occurs when asbestos fibers are inhaled and become embedded in the mesothelium, the lining that covers most of the body’s internal organs. The embedded fibers inflame the linings, cause malignant tumors to form, which lead to various types of cancer. Many people in the building trade, including plumbers and pipefitters, were exposed to asbestos through the products they used and the buildings where they worked.

What is the difference between plumbers and pipefitters?

Plumbers are skilled tradespeople who specialize in installing and repairing closed pipe systems. The overall plumbing trade group includes pipefitters and steamfitters who work on larger infrastructure projects than most plumbers.

High risk of exposure to asbestos among plumbers and pipefitters

Statistics show that there is a high risk of exposure to asbestos among several classifications of maintenance workers, including plumbers.

In 2018, a U.K. study identified former plumbers as a high-risk group for asbestos-related diseases. According to data gathered, they are almost 16 times more likely to develop mesothelioma than the general population.

On-the-job exposure to asbestos

Asbestos is still present in many U.S. homes and commercial buildings. Plumbers and pipefitters are in danger of inhaling or ingesting asbestos if they have to cut, fix, or replace pipes. Plumbers and pipefitters often disturb areas containing asbestos and inhale the dust created as part of their job.

Asbestos was used in insulation of pipes, boilers, ducts, and tanks for its fire and heat resistant properties. Plumbers commonly come in contact with pipes. They have to cut, saw and drill pipes to specific lengths and sizes to fit precise dimensions of an area in a building, disturbing asbestos fibers used in the products’ insulation and releasing them into the air where they could be inhaled.

Asbestos was used in many plumbing products

Asbestos was thought to be an excellent additive to many products used by plumbers and pipefitters.

  • Asbestos has excellent thermal transfer properties. Hot water pipes were asbestos-wrapped to keep temperatures uniform and constant.
  • Asbestos is fire-resistant, making it safe for plumbers to cut, weld and braze around.
  • Asbestos is non-corrosive, so asbestos wrapped steel pipes were protected from rust.
  • Asbestos was cheap, easy to work with, and widely available.

Your financial resources will likely not be enough to cover all of the medical, rehabilitative, and living costs you will incur if you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Looking for a mesothelioma lawyer? Contact Goldberg, Persky & White P.C. to discuss your mesothelioma or asbestos-related legal claim.

Sources:
  • Gilham, C. et al., Past and current asbestos exposure and future mesothelioma risks in Britain: The Inhaled Particles Study (TIPS) (March 9, 2018). [link]
  • Homeowners Guide to Asbestos and Plumbing (May 18, 2019). [link]
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