Carpenters: Can they get mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis from asbestos exposure?

Written by on August 7, 2014

Carpenters make the world go ‘round. Literally. Look out your window right now and tell me what you see. I’m guessing it includes houses, office buildings, bridges, walkways and decks. Or look inside. No doubt you will find stairways, furniture, walls, floors and ceilings. None of it would happen without carpenters. It is a noble profession. It is doubly sad then that carpenters, the builders of our world, are more prone to asbestos exposure, and thus disease such as mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestos exposure, than just about any other profession. Yes, asbestos stopped being mass-produced in the states years ago, but that does not mean it does not still exist. In certain industrial applications, asbestos is still manufactured to this day.

And what about that quaint little two-story you are thinking about rehabbing? You know, the one over in the old neighborhood, by the park with the mature trees out front? Chances are that it was built back in the 1970s or before, back when asbestos was the most popular insulation around. And if it was, guaranteed it has asbestos lurking in those walls. One crack with the sledgehammer may get rid of that wall you hate and open the space to new possibilities, but truer still is that that same one crack of the sledgehammer may very well release millions of microscopic asbestos fibers into the air.

Its not just insulation. Asbestos was used in practically every phase of home construction back then: furnaces, boilers, wiring, switches, ceiling tile, wallboard, gaskets, appliances, you name it. If extreme care is or was not taken, first when installing, and now when removing those items during the rehab, asbestos fibers surely were or will be released. And if they get released, as a carpenter, you inhaled them.

That's where the problems start. Asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma all start with microscopic asbestos fibers getting inhaled into your lungs. Once inhaled, they embed themselves in the pulmonary tissue. Over time, they break down and create toxins that lead to the above diseases, among others.

Which brings up another important point - over time. The latency period for mesothelioma, for example, is often decades. Perhaps you were a carpenter as a young man working with these products on a daily basis, back when no one gave asbestos a second thought. But later on, you moved in another direction, both in life and career. Unfortunately, being diagnosed with mesothelioma thirty, forty or even fifty years after exposure is not uncommon. The damage has already been done, the disease festering for years; it was just waiting to become apparent.

If any of this sounds familiar: you were a carpenter back in the day, you rehabbed an older home or building more recently, or you are still a working carpenter to this day but have developed symptoms of asbestos disease, please know you are not alone. We have been actively involved in working with asbestos diseases for years. Be it medical diagnosis or treatment options, legal remedies and compensation, or just someone to talk to, we are here to help. Call, click or see us in person, we look forward to helping you too.