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Construction tools and asbestos: A recipe for disaster

If you work in construction in the Pittsburgh area, you may get to visit some interesting buildings. The city is known for its architecture and artsy designs. In addition to some of the older bridges, churches, factories and homes in the area, there's been a lot of new construction in recent years that make Pittsburgh a highly attractive location for business owners and home buyers alike. Whenever building or renovation takes place, there's a risk for injury; in some situations, that risk involves asbestos.

Products containing asbestos were once commonly used in construction. As more information surfaced regarding health risks associated with asbestos, protocol associated with exposing workers to the material or removing it from a site became more stringent. Your employer generally must inform you of known asbestos risks on a job site and provide you with all necessary equipment to keep you as safe as possible. Asbestos is more dangerous in certain circumstances than others. Knowing the facts and where to seek support can be helpful if you contract an asbestos-related illness.

Recognize increased danger risk when asbestos is present 

Let's say you are assigned to a project that includes renovating a room in a very old home. The ceiling tiles in the room show signs of dampness and are crumbling in a few spots. This situation could place you at great risk for asbestos-related injury if, in fact, the tiles used when the room was first constructed contained asbestos. That's because asbestos is generally most dangerous when it becomes friable. Friability refers to how easily a particular material can crumble.

Dampness often causes asbestos-laden materials to become soggy. Typically, the soggier the item, the higher its friability level. The higher its friability level, the greater the safety risk involved any time you are exposed to it.

Construction or renovation may increase danger

Think of common tools you use when you're renovating or building something. You may use a hammer, scraper, saw, drill or other tools to get the job done. The problem concerning asbestos is that any time you disturb it, you could increase your risk for harmful exposure. Drilling, pounding or even sweeping debris where asbestos is present can cause microscopic fibers to fill the air.

If you breathe those fibers in or swallow them, they can become lodged in your lungs and cause you to develop a serious respiratory infection like asbestosis or an incurable cancer such as mesothelioma.

How often and for how long you were exposed to asbestos affects the likelihood of disease.

Treatment and other support

Sadly, many of the illnesses associated with asbestos inhalation or ingestion are incurable and fatal. While there are treatments available, the purpose of such is often mainly to relieve symptoms and promote comfort rather than to eradicate disease. Many of the Pennsylvania steel mill employees, construction workers and others negatively impacted by asbestos pursue legal action to seek compensation for damages in the hope of using such monies to help offset medical bills and other costs associated with their conditions.

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D'Amico Law Offices, L.L.C.
310 Grant Street
Grant Building
Suite 825
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-906-8180
Fax: 412-904-2245
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