Asbestos occupational exposure is a significant concern for pipefitters and workers in various industries. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was once commonly used in building materials, insulation, and other products due to its fire-resistant and insulating properties. However, it was discovered that exposure to asbestos fibers can lead to serious health issues, including lung diseases and cancer.
Pipefitters, in particular, may encounter asbestos in older buildings and industrial facilities, as it was commonly used in insulation for pipes and boilers. When asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) are disturbed or deteriorate over time, tiny asbestos fibers can become airborne and be inhaled by workers, leading to potential health risks.
The health risks associated with asbestos exposure include:
Asbestosis: A chronic lung condition caused by inhaling asbestos fibers, leading to scarring of lung tissue and reduced lung function.
Mesothelioma: A rare and aggressive cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. It is primarily caused by asbestos exposure.
Lung Cancer: Asbestos exposure can increase the risk of developing lung cancer, especially for those who smoke.