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Legally Reviewed by Joseph P. Williams on June 19, 2018

Occupations with Asbestos Exposure Risk

Experienced Legal Help for Victims of Asbestos-Related Illnesses

Occupational contamination is the most common source of asbestos exposure, and many workers who later develop mesothelioma or asbestos-related lung cancer were not made aware that they were working directly with or using products that contained the deadly carcinogen.

The Williams Law Firm, P.C. understands the devastating, far-reaching effects of asbestos exposure on victims and their family members. If you or a loved one suffers from mesothelioma or asbestos-related lung cancer, it is important that you retain a New York mesothelioma lawyer to fight for the financial compensation you need and to reduce some of the stress you feel so you can focus on treatment and spending time with family.

For help dealing with the effects of asbestos exposure, call (855) 575-6376 today and schedule a free consultation.

Occupations with a High Risk of Asbestos Exposure

In addition to those who worked in the mining and refining of asbestos, the following occupations have a historically high risk of exposure to asbestos:

infographic depicting occupations with a high risk for asbestos exposure


Many aircraft built before 1980 were constructed using asbestos. Unfortunately, even avoiding planes built after this year could contain asbestos if they were repaired or maintained using parts or products from before 1980. The US Airforce used this asbestos in several of their plane models, and many members of the military have been rewarded for their service with a horrible disease. Read more


Asbestos was banned in building trades nearly 40 years ago, but its use in automotive parts, while dwindling, is still common. This means that auto mechanics are at an increased risk of asbestos exposure whether working on older or brand new model vehicles. Read more


If you have worked as a boilermaker or boiler mechanic, you may be at an increased risk for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses. Boilers generate heat and, for a majority of the 20th century, asbestos was used to refract the heat around these devices. Read more


Bricklayers, like others in the skilled building trades, are at an increased risk of mesothelioma caused by the exposure to asbestos. Many bricklayers have worked directly with or around asbestos-containing materials while installing fireplaces or working with fire-retardant brick. Read more


Asbestos was a staple in the building trades for nearly half of the 20th century. This mineral was used as both a heat reducer and flame retardant in insulation, pipes, laminates, plaster, and a number of other building materials in the United States through the early 1980s. Read more


Construction worker is a relatively vague descriptor that can be applied to nearly any skilled tradesmen or novice laborer involved in the building trades. However, your level of skill and your particular trade play very little role in your potential for asbestos exposure. Read more


Demolition workers tearing down old buildings are at a high risk of asbestos exposure. Though the EPA has imposed federal regulations on demolition to limit exposure, many employees are still exposed because their employers ignored the rules, or because current methods are simply not as failsafe as they should be. Read more


Dentists and other dental professionals may be exposed to asbestos in their line of work due to dental materials that contain asbestos. Read more


Between the 1940s and 1980s, plaster and joint compounds were manufactured with asbestos. This deadly mineral can still be found in many buildings across New York that were constructed during that time. If you have ever worked as a drywall installer, you may have suffered asbestos exposure, increasing your risks for serious illness. Read more


Electricians are commonly in contact with asbestos dust and fibers. This is because asbestos was widely used in a number of building materials for over 40 years in the United States. Read more


If building containing asbestos collapses or catches on fire, firefighters and first responders who are called to the scene are at risk of inhaling asbestos fibers that get released into the air from the disaster. Read more 


For much of the 20th century, asbestos was considered a miracle substance due to its tensile strength, heat resistance, and sound absorbency. Its ability to insulate heat and its resistance to fire made it common in several parts of factory equipment and machinery until the 1980s, during which time the dangers of asbestos exposure were not fully understood. Read more


Unfortunately, thousands of buildings throughout New York still contain asbestos, increasing HVAC workers asbestos-exposure risks. Known for its fire resistance and ability to absorb heat, asbestos was common in and around heating systems and ventilation until the 1980s. Read more


Exposure to asbestos does not result in immediate illness. In fact, it can take several decades for asbestos exposure to result in diseases such as mesothelioma, which can make collecting proper compensation for your damages all the more difficult. Read more


Asbestos was relied upon by the jewelry industry for many decades. Since the making of jewelry uses high temperatures to melt and mold the metals (soldering), asbestos was a cost-effective option for fireproofing. Read more


Tragically, skilled and unskilled laborers alike are often exploited, overworked, and even exposed to dangerous and deadly toxic materials. One of these materials, asbestos, is common in so many industries that laborers of all stripes have most likely been exposed at one point or another. Read more


If you worked as a maintenance worker prior to the 1980s, it is impossible for you to have not worked around asbestos. Even today in buildings that have not undergone abatement, asbestos exposure is a risk for maintenance workers throughout New York City.


If you have worked as a millwright in any industry, you are at risk for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses. Due to its heat resistant properties, asbestos has been used in many items millwrights come into daily contact with such as pipe coverings and insulation, valves and packaging, gaskets, and boilers. Read more


For much of the 20th century, U.S. Naval ships were built with materials containing asbestos. This flame retardant was hailed for its ability to protect seamen in case of fire on the open water, but little was known about the dangers of asbestos exposure until the late 1970s. Today, the Jones Act provides an opportunity for seamen to recoup damages for mesothelioma and other asbestos-exposure illness. Read more


The risk for asbestos exposure among those who work in the oil industry is incredibly high. Asbestos was used in the insulating of pipes, tanks, boilers, ovens, heat exchangers, pumps, and other machinery on rigs and in refineries. Read more


As with any trade involving the renovating and remodeling of older buildings, painters are at an increased risk for asbestos exposure. Painters commonly need to prepare walls for painting by applying sanding joint compound, plaster and spackle which contained asbestos. Read more


Tradesmen who have previously or are currently working as pipefitters may have been exposed to asbestos at several times while performing normal job duties. Installing and repairing pipe systems in older New York buildings can disturb asbestos fibers in pipe insulation, valves and gaskets, and related materials. Read more


Whether they were performing repairs or maintenance in older buildings or were part of a crew that built or maintained plumbing systems prior to the banning of asbestos in the early ‘80s, plumbers in New York have long been at risk for asbestos exposure. Read more


Until it was banned in the United States in 1989, asbestos was widely used in power plants and powerhouses due to its heat-reflecting and retarding abilities. A majority of the powerhouses in New York City were built prior to 1990 and may contain asbestos. Read more


Until the 1970s, asbestos was prized for its ability to resist heat and flame. On trains and in rail yards, asbestos was used as an insulator as well as for high-temperature gaskets, clutch linings, and brakes, as well as in floor and ceiling tile. Read more


If you worked in the roofing industry at any point from the 1940s, it is likely that you handled material containing asbestos. In fact, your risk of asbestos exposure is extremely high. Read more


Sheet metal workers may have suffered asbestos exposure while fireproofing ductwork from the 1940s through part of the ‘70s. However, exposure was not stopped even after the spraying of asbestos was banned in 1973. Read more


A vessel on fire at sea is a frightening thing, which is why asbestos was long used in the building of ships. Asbestos can commonly be found both aboard ships and in shipyards as insulation for boilers, pipes, and turbines, as well as in cement, plaster, and other building materials. Read more


Many people who worked with piping systems through the 1980s have been exposed to asbestos, but are only now being diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestosis-related illnesses. This is because asbestos can stay in the body for years and may not produce an illness until long after the initial exposure. Read more


Tile setting is an art. A vast majority of tile setters are skilled tradesmen who have undergone apprenticeships or schooling to refine their craft, but training alone is not always sufficient to prepare a tile setter for potential health risks, like asbestos exposure. Read more

It’s important to note that this is only a partial list of occupations that have demonstrated a heightened risk of asbestos exposure and that workplace exposure is not the only means of asbestos contamination. It is also possible to develop mesothelioma or asbestos-related lung cancer from household contact with asbestos fibers or second-hand asbestos exposure.

Find Out More at The Williams Law Firm

Explore your options for legal recourse after asbestos exposure by contacting The Williams Law Firm, P.C. online or calling (855) 575-6376 to schedule your free case consultation with an asbestos attorney in New York. We welcome clients from Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island and nationwide.