Working with asbestos is dangerous. This naturally-occurring mineral substance is a known human carcinogen, and there is no safe level of exposure. However, it also has many uses in the industrial world, so companies decide to use asbestos anyway.
Workers who handle asbestos on the job in their twenties might end up developing cancer when they are 50 or 60 years old. Most workers in a dangerous profession that exposes them to asbestos at least have the protection of asbestos-related compensation funds if they develop an illness related to their workplace asbestos exposure.
The same may unfortunately not be true for the incarcerated workers exposed to asbestos while serving their sentences.
What journalists uncovered in New York
Despite having relatively liberal social policies, New York is notorious for having a ruthless approach to imprisoned individuals. That certainly seems to be the case when reviewing inmate work records from the last few years.
Journalists have found that not only do workers receive pennies a day for their work in some cases, but they may end up forced to work with dangerous substances like asbestos without proper training or safety equipment.
Those handling asbestos on the job should receive warnings from their employer about their carcinogen exposure and also adequate training to protect themselves. Inmates exposed to asbestos may eventually develop mesothelioma, lung cancer or other asbestos-related diseases. Decades from now, states that exposed inmates to asbestos without proper protection or compensation may end up footing the bill for the medical treatment they require as a result.
Following stories related to asbestos exposure, asbestos-related disease and modern treatments can help those worried about illness related to previous workplace exposure.