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Maritime workers’ asbestos exposure risk is particularly high

Dec 30, 2020 | High-Risk Occupations For Asbestos Exposure/Mesothelioma

Some say that St. Louis wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the Mississippi River and the many other nearby bodies of water that flow into it. Many maritime workers both in the harbor and at sea have contributed their labors to ensure that the river has remained a critical pathway for transporting cargo for several generations. Unfortunately, it’s only recently that many may have discovered how their work unnecessarily exposed them to harmful substances such as asbestos.

What’s so dangerous about being a maritime worker?

There are many aspects of working on the water that are dangerous. Maritime workers regularly work in tight spaces where they must maneuver around ill-placed objects while carrying a heavy or oddly-shaped load.

Shipbuilders, for example, often use heavy machinery while suspended up in the air. Not only do they risk electrocution by operating electrical devices while dangling over a body of water, but the toxic exposure dangers that they face are particularly concerning.

Gas, coal and oils within the boat are dangerous enough for maritime workers to be around. Many water vessels also emit both nonionizing and ionizing radiation.

Toxins that shipbuilders must worry about most are those that they inhale. These include solvents, paint thinners, coatings and paint. The original shipbuilders also used asbestos fibers to construct these water vessels, so there’s a strong chance of workers breathing in that harmful mineral as well.

Many home construction workers’ and military servicemembers’ asbestos exposure happened before federal regulators outlawed the substance a few decades ago.

Dangers associated with asbestos exposure

Any dangers that maritime workers face can leave them with life-threatening injuries or dead. Asbestos exposure is unique in that individuals don’t often realize that they’ve been exposed to the harmful fibers until years or even decades after their initial exposure. There’s often little to nothing that doctors can do for patients once they discover that they have asbestos-related cancer such as mesothelioma.

Missouri law may allow you to qualify for compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering and other types of damages if you can attribute your asbestos-related illness to your use of a product or a job. An attorney will want to know more about your career and your health before advising you of your right to file a lawsuit here in St. Louis.