Most people consider Pennsylvania a blue collar state, especially cities like Pittsburgh. There are many thriving industries in this state and households are largely comprised of the working class. There are certain jobs in this state and others that place workers and their families at great risk for asbestos-related injuries. If you or one of your family members works in a high-risk location, it's a good idea to learn as much as you can about asbestos and its potential harm to human health.
Doctors often have trouble diagnosing asbestosis, mesothelioma and other asbestos-caused diseases mainly because symptoms often remain hidden for a long time after an initial exposure to asbestos-laden materials. That's why it's critical to know which jobs pose the highest risk for injury and where to seek support if you suspect that going to work has made you or your loved one sick.
Workplaces that are high-risk for asbestos injury
Before reading the following list that includes jobs where it is common to encounter asbestos, you should know that workers themselves are not the only ones at risk. If you or another family member live with someone who works in a high-risk industry, then second-hand exposure to asbestos can be just as dangerous as direct contact. The jobs listed here typically rank high for asbestos danger:
- If someone in your household serves the community as a firefighter, then your family is at great risk for asbestos injuries. Firefighters often have to enter old homes and other buildings where fires and water from hoses can disrupt materials inside the structure, thus releasing dangerous, microscopic asbestos fibers into the air.
- If you are a teacher or have children attending a Pennsylvania school, you'll definitely want to stay updated on the results of air tests that school administrators should order periodically to check for asbestos.
- Where would people in a modern society be without mechanics? Most people understand how valuable this type of work is, but many do not realize that brake pads, transmissions, clutch parts and other vehicle components often contain asbestos.
The older the vehicle, school or home, the higher the risk typically is. There are strict regulations regarding asbestos because the dangers associated with it are now well known. Your employer must inform you if your work in an area where you're at risk for asbestos exposure. Proper training greatly improves workplace safety for employees and their families.
When to seek medical attention
Some people hesitate to seek a diagnosis regarding possible asbestos injury because they believe it is was only a risk for people who worked in steel mills, coal mines and other factory industries long ago. This couldn't be further from the truth. Asbestos still poses serious health risks in many industries today, especially those mentioned earlier in this blog post.
If you or your loved one experience symptoms that include lingering cough, chest discomfort, loss of appetite, abdominal pain or breathing difficulty, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor and make sure that he or she knows there is a possibility that you (or family members) were exposed to asbestos.