Asbestos is dangerous to humans when the small fibres that make this hazardous material become airborne. There are several occupations that carry the risk of exposure to asbestos, even today.
Asbestos exposure often results in one of two conditions; mesothelioma or lung cancer. The former is an extremely aggressive form of cancer that can take a substantial amount of time to surface after exposure – in some cases, longer than 50 years.
Although asbestos is now banned from being used in the construction of new buildings, the risk of exposure still exists from buildings that were built before the substance was outlawed. Many cases of asbestos-related illnesses that are seen today are the result of asbestos exposure in the workplace.
Because asbestos can take decades to manifest, people that had occupations that could have exposed them to asbestos between the 1940s and 1970s could still be at risk today. Asbestos was extremely popular in the construction industry, meaning that anyone working in the industry during that time could be at risk.
Asbestos was already used in car breaks at around the same time that it was popular in construction. As such, auto mechanics could also be at risk. Rescue workers are also at risk of being exposed to asbestos, in particular fire fighters. When buildings are destroyed, asbestos can be disturbed and this is when the fibres can become airborne. Without the proper safety equipment and without treating protective clothing properly after the event, fire fighters could be at risk of inhaling the fibres.