Most furnaces will go years without being serviced, experiencing a lot of wear and tear and causing increased asbestos exposure for people who work around them. With increased stress from corrosion, routine use, and high temperatures, asbestos becomes more and more friable. This drastically raises the risk for asbestos particles to be looming in the air, waiting to make anyone who comes near sick.
Furnace repair and maintenance technicians face an increased risk for asbestos-related diseases. These professionals often are directly and indirectly exposed to asbestos while removing old gaskets, patching tattered insulation, or touching components. For many years, doctors and scientists did not understand the dangers of asbestos, but we now know that the material can cause fatal respiratory diseases including mesothelioma.
Know the Risks of Asbestos Exposure
There are two categories of asbestos that can put your health at risk. The first is serpentine or “white” asbestos. While it’s a fairly soft form of the material, it can still cause lung abrasions that lead to scar tissue and serious lung damage. The deadliest type of asbestos is amphibole. This form is more closely linked to mesothelioma, a disease that is usually fatal. Named after the mesothelium that lies between the lungs and the pleural cavity, mesothelioma is a type of cancer that can impact the tissues around the lungs, heart, and stomach.
Furnace repair technicians are not the only ones that face a risk for asbestos-related diseases. When you do a repair job that exposes you to asbestos, the tiny particles can also cling to your clothes. This means that you actually take the risk home with you and share it with the people you love most. Unfortunately, loved ones may encounter the dangerous invisible asbestos particles while doing laundry or giving you a hug as you come home from a long day of work.
It’s almost ironic that asbestos was originally chosen for use in furnaces because of its ability to withstand high temperatures and reduce fire risks. It was meant to preserve life, but instead, it has put millions of lives at risk.
Exposed to Asbestos? Know Your Rights
If you believe you have been exposed to asbestos, the first thing you should do is talk to your doctor. You should undergo careful health monitoring to watch for signs of mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases. You might also want to pursue counsel from a mesothelioma lawyer who specializes in asbestos exposure and mesothelioma lawsuits. There have been numerous cases where furnace technicians, construction workers, and others with occupational exposures have received large settlements due to the risk of life-threatening illness and injury.