A Cancer Causing Agent
Throughout the 20th century, asbestos was used in thousands of products, from industrial applications to U.S. Navy vessels to home appliances. As a result, millions of Americans have been exposed to this hazardous material. Navy seamen, shipyard workers, industrial tradesmen, insulators, and construction workers often had heavy occupational exposure to asbestos. Bystander exposure, household exposure and environmental exposure can also cause asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis.
Unaware of Asbestos Exposure
Many people are unaware that they have been exposed to asbestos. You cannot necessarily tell that a product contains asbestos just by looking at it. Common products such as thermal insulation, fireproofing, sound insulation, textile, gasket, packing, drywall, joint compound, electrical insulation and friction products usually contained asbestos, until at least the 1970s.
Epidemic of Asbestos-Related Cancers
Tragically, this widespread use of asbestos has led to an epidemic of cancer and other asbestos related diseases, particularly among Navy Veterans, shipyard workers, insulators, and other industrial workers and their families. Although asbestos was phased out of most products by the late 1980’s, it was never banned. There are still asbestos materials in many older homes, public buildings, schools, and some older Navy vessels. Thus, people today can still be exposed to toxic asbestos products that were manufactured decades ago.
Learn More About Asbestos
The articles in this section of our Mesothelioma Knowledge Center are designed to help you learn more about asbestos from the types of products that contained asbestos to the health hazards to the asbestos industry’s cover-up of the health risks:
- Asbestos Bankruptcies
- Asbestos in Hawai’i
- The Asbestos Industry Cover-up
- What Is Asbestos?