Louisiana High-Risk Occupations for Mesothelioma

High-Risk Occupations for Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is aggressive cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, heart, or abdomen. Caused primarily by the inhalation of asbestos fibers, mesothelioma is most commonly diagnosed in older individuals who worked with asbestos products in an industrial setting. Prognosis for mesothelioma is poor, but early detection and newer treatment methods have given many patients hope for survival. It is long-developing cancer that can appear decades after the initial exposure to asbestos particles. Daily exposure to asbestos at work can lead to mesothelioma and other asbestos-related harms, including asbestosis and lung cancer. There are certain occupations that use asbestos more than others, and therefore put employees at great risk of exposure. If you work in any of the following jobs, seek help for your mesothelioma claim. There are high odds that you’re eligible for compensation.

Construction Workers

The construction industry has one of the highest uses of asbestos-containing materials. Construction materials from cement and caulk to insulation and roofing shingles all have the potential to contain some amount of asbestos.

Construction is considered one of the most dangerous jobs period because workers face a lot of risks. Though most accidents on the job occur from heavy machinery or dangerous falls, exposure is also a huge factor for these workers. It is estimated that over 1 million construction workers are exposed to asbestos-containing materials each year.

According to most recent NIOSH work-related lung disease report, nearly 15% of all malignant mesothelioma deaths in 1999 were workers in the construction industry.

Shipyard Workers

Shipyards can contain high quantities of asbestos, and as such shipyard workers are among the most diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases. Those who worked in shipyards and on ships during World War II are especially at risk, as over 4 million people were employed at these yards at that time.

Shipyard workers have a variety of duties, including construction and maintenance of ships. Asbestos was very common on these ships because of its properties and could be found in almost any aspect of the ship, from the gaskets and seal compounds to the boilers.

Because of the high amount of asbestos used on these naval ships, Navy veterans are also at high risk. Asbestos was used widely throughout the military, however, so all veterans are vulnerable to being diagnosed with mesothelioma.


Whether working as a mechanic performing maintenance on a vehicle or aircraft, asbestos exposure is a big risk. Because many of the inner workings of a car or aircraft cause high heat and friction, asbestos was widely used in various parts because of its heat resistance.Today, asbestos is mostly present in older parts, but can also be present in vehicle or aircraft parts imported from other countries.

Auto repair shops often have poor ventilation and circulation, which can make the asbestos dust more concentrated in the air. Many workers are not even aware of asbestos in the products they’re using, so often do not take precautions to avoid exposure.

In addition to the dangers of replacing these parts, mechanics also risk exposure through improper cleanup. Wiping parts with a dry rag or wiping away any dust in this manner can create airborne asbestos. Spraying water or using compressed air to clean various parts can also spread the asbestos around the facilities.

Plant Workers

Power plant, chemical plant and industrial plant workers all face varying degrees of asbestos exposure on the job. Power plant workers interact with and maintain boilers, generators, and turbines which all operate with the risk of combustion or heat damage. As such, much of the equipment was made with asbestos to lessen the risk, though it ultimately put the employees at great risk of dangerous exposure.

Industrial plant workers have a variety of responsibilities but largely tend to mass quantities of manufactured goods, often performing mechanical or chemical processes throughout production. The majority of their tasks involve maintaining and repairing heavy machinery, many of which were made with various asbestos-containing materials.

Chemical plant workers also perform varied tasks, whether they’re working directly with the chemicals or operating and tending to the machines producing their goods. In addition to the equipment having many asbestos products, workers also would frequently wear protective clothing that contained asbestos. Because of its heat resistance, the fibers were used in many gloves, aprons, and coveralls the workers would wear.


There are well over one million firefighters in the United States, both volunteers and those pursuing a career. Being a firefighter is a dangerous occupation for many reasons. Unfortunately, exposure to toxins like asbestos on the job is a serious risk.

Many older buildings built before 1980 contain some asbestos materials. Even though asbestos was used for its heat resistance, in the event of a fire most of these materials will begin to break down and release asbestos fibers into the air. Though in many cases, their protective gear will help prevent exposure, the fibers will continue to linger even after the fire is out. Protection is still vital even when the immediate danger of the flames has been extinguished.

The tragic events of 9/11 also created a lot of dangerous debris and airborne toxins, including asbestos. Reports estimate that around 410,000 people were exposed to these toxins during rescue and cleanup efforts. Since it can take 10 – 50 years for symptoms to show, those who helped during and after the attack should monitor their health and inform their doctor of potential exposure.

In addition to these higher risk occupations, many other workers around the world may also come in contact with the toxin at work. Even people who stay at home have the potential to be exposed to asbestos if they live in an older house that may have become damaged or deteriorated a bit over time.


On top of resisting fire, asbestos is also tolerant to electricity. Electricians in charge of projects in residential areas and in businesses during the 1980s and earlier were likely exposed to asbestos at some point. Cutting and drilling into asbestos-filled materials released the mineral into the air. Working with insulation, wiring applications, drywall, ceiling tiles, insulation film, and other such materials all come with a risk of asbestos exposure.


Manufacturing facilities responsible for producing materials and goods that contained asbestos put their employees at risk daily. All staff members at manufacturing companies that cranked out asbestos-filled items in the 1900s may today have related illnesses. The same is true for asbestos miners, who were responsible for mining and collecting this naturally-occurring mineral from its source.

Talk to an Attorney Today

The list of workplaces that might expose employees to asbestos is long. After any asbestos-related diagnosis, seek help from our attorneys regardless of your occupational history. You could have faced second-hand exposure from someone else even if you did not work directly around the mineral. Do not delay! In Louisiana, the prescription to file a claim is one year after you are diagnosed. Call (225) 928-8800, or visit our website to schedule your free initial consultation with one of our experienced mesothelioma lawyers.