Aerospace Industry Once Major Asbestos Risk
President Obama recently signed legislation that reclassified some communications satellite technologies as being civilian, and not military. This will lift some export restrictions. Because of this, claims a Forbes opinion piece, the American aerospace industry appears poised for a major comeback with potential sales of communications satellites and gear overseas.
However, it’s worth noting, historically, how dangerous the aerospace industry was to frontline workers. From World War II until about 1980, the aerospace industry was a hazardous place for many workers because of the asbestos presence. Asbestos was used in multiple plane parts because of its resistance to heat, friction, and chemical damage, as well as its high tensile strength, and insulation properties.
However, asbestos-containing products may release fibers into the air that can be inhaled or swallowed. This leads to serious health problems, including asbestosis, and lung, esophageal, gastrointestinal, laryngeal, and pharyngeal cancers. It also causes mesothelioma, a rare but deadly cancer.
Asbestos-containing products used in airplanes included brakes, insulation, glues, and epoxies. Construction of the aircraft required constant sanding, drilling, and cutting of asbestos-containing components. Most plane brakes used asbestos lining, which, over time, would be ground to a fine dust and collect in the wheel wells. That asbestos dust would then be released, exposing aircraft mechanics and others to the deadly fibers.
As with most occupational asbestos exposure, on-site aerospace workers were not the only ones at risk for developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-caused conditions. Workers would often return to their homes in clothes containing asbestos dust, thus putting their loved ones at risk for serious health problems.
Mesothelioma has a long latency period between exposure to asbestos and the onset of symptoms—from 15 to 50 years. Some aerospace workers exposed to asbestos decades ago may only now be exhibiting symptoms of mesothelioma. These include shortness of breath, fatigue, coughing, chest pain, and fluid in the lungs.
Have you been diagnosed with mesothelioma? Do you believe you were exposed to asbestos during your aerospace career? You may want to consider filing a mesothelioma lawsuit to get the financial compensation you may deserve. To learn more about your legal options using a mesothelioma attorney, please contact us for a free case evaluation.