Just about everyone now understands that long-term occupational exposure to asbestos can lead to conditions like cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma. Most people associate workplace asbestos illnesses with men, but women can also be sickened by exposure.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that a substantial increase in annual (non-age-adjusted) mesothelioma deaths among women since the beginning of the 21st century. It is wise for women (and men) to find out if their job might raise their risk of developing an asbestos-related illness.
Industries and occupations
The study examined death certificates where malignant mesothelioma was determined to be the cause of death in women. About 92% of the certificates included the decedent’s occupation. The CDC identified 21 industry groups across parts of the U.S. with high rates of mesothelioma deaths. The industries with the most asbestos-related deaths in women are:
- Social assistance and health care – 15.7% (89 deaths)
- Education services – 11.3% (64 deaths)
- Manufacturing – 8.8% (50 deaths)
The specific occupations with the most mesothelioma deaths are:
- Homemakers – 22.8% (129)
- Elementary and middle school teachers – 5.6% (32 deaths)
- Registered nurses – 4.9% (28 deaths)
Unfortunately, the report contains few details about how these women encountered asbestos in the workplace. However, it does say that disturbing dust or materials containing asbestos fibers likely played a role. For example, these materials could enter the environment during remodeling or routine cleaning.
In the case of homemaker deaths, a spouse or relative likely introduced asbestos into the home via their clothing. Even so, a manufacturer or distributor could be liable for secondary exposure that sickened family members.
Understanding the compensation options for victims can make a difference in your lifespan and quality of life.