Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs, abdomen or heart. It is caused by exposure to asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral that was widely used in construction and manufacturing industries until the 1970s.
Unfortunately, mechanics are among the occupations at high risk of contracting mesothelioma. This is due to their frequent exposure to asbestos-containing materials in brake linings, gaskets, insulation and other products.
Why are mechanics at high risk of mesothelioma?
Mechanics are at high risk of mesothelioma due to their frequent exposure to asbestos-containing materials in the workplace. Unfortunately, many older vehicles and machinery contain asbestos in their brakes, gaskets, insulation and other components. When these materials are disturbed or damaged, they release microscopic asbestos fibers into the air, which workers can inhale or ingest.
Mechanics who work in older repair shops or with older vehicles and machinery are particularly at risk of mesothelioma. Even small amounts of asbestos exposure can increase the risk of developing mesothelioma, and the risk is cumulative over time. As a result, mechanics who have worked in the industry for many years may be at even higher risk of contracting the disease.
How can mechanics protect themselves from mesothelioma?
Since one cannot change occupations overnight, the least mechanics can do is take steps to reduce their risk of asbestos exposure. They can achieve this by using proper protective equipment, such as respirators and gloves. Mechanics should also avoid using compressed air or dry brushing to clean up asbestos debris, as this can release fibers into the air. Instead, they should use wet methods or HEPA-filtered vacuums to clean up.
What should workers do if they believe they have been exposed to asbestos?
Workers who believe they may have been exposed to asbestos should notify their employer and seek medical attention. Even if no symptoms are present, exposed workers should undergo regular medical checkups to monitor their health.
Suppose mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease is diagnosed. In that case, workers may be eligible for compensation through workers’ compensation, a lawsuit or a trust fund set up by the companies responsible for their asbestos exposure. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you should explore your options for pursuing compensation.