The railroad industry has a long history of heavy asbestos use. It took until the 1990’s before the industry could finally consider itself asbestos free. For the railroad workers who labored on the tracks and in the train yards before then, chances are they’ve experienced unsafe levels of asbestos exposure.
Railroad Workers and Asbestos Diseases
Research shows that railroad workers have a much greater chance of developing asbestos related illnesses, like asbestosis and mesothelioma cancer, than the general population. This is because their average work day presented many opportunities for asbestos exposure to occur.
Daily Duties of a Railroad Worker
Many of the daily jobs a railroad worker had to perform required interaction with materials and equipment that contained asbestos. Some of these items included:
- Engine insulation
- Box-car and caboose insulation
- Boiler insulation
- Pipe insulation
- Refrigeration units
- Railroad brakes and clutches
Just because an item contains asbestos does not necessarily mean being near it will harm a person. Asbestos is only harmful when the fibrous material brakes apart, creating a dust of microscopic fibers. If these fibers are inhaled, they remain in the body for years, sometimes decades, and can eventually cause asbestos diseases.
The asbestos containing materials used in the railroad industry are often torn apart, worn down, cut and reshaped. Every time this happens, dangerous asbestos dust is released into the air.
An Example of Exposure
For example, railroad mechanics involved in engine repair had to handle gaskets that were made with asbestos. These gaskets were not custom manufactured so they often had to bet cut, hammered, and fashioned before being installed. This handling of the gasket would cause asbestos within it to brake off in microscopic amounts that would then be inhaled by the mechanic.
Performing tasks like these repeatedly throughout the day and every day of the work week meant railroad workers were continuously exposed to harmful asbestos.
Railroad Workers Kept in the Dark about Asbestos
It is alleged that railroad company leaders and industry experts knew about the harm that asbestos was quietly causing their employees. Because of this, hundreds of railroad workers who are now living with asbestos related illnesses, such as asbestosis and mesothelioma, are filing personal injury lawsuits against railroads and the companies that manufactured the asbestos containing parts they used to work with every day.
If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos while working as a railroad worker, you may be eligible to recover compensation for your losses. Please contact mesothelioma treatment centers today for more information.