Millions of Americans have been exposed to asbestos on a regular basis. Almost everyone has been exposed to the dangerous mineral at least once in their lives. This is due to the fact that asbestos is almost always present in the air. Since this type of exposure is usually of a very low level of asbestos and does not occur every day, most people will not develop diseases related to asbestos exposure. Most of the people who contract asbestos related diseases work with asbestos very day and come in contact with it regularly through their homes or jobs.
Some of the most common jobs where workers have been exposed to asbestos repeatedly are shipbuilding trades, asbestos mining and milling, manufacturing of asbestos textiles and other asbestos products, insulation work in construction and building trades, and many other jobs that revolve around construction and manufacturing of asbestos containing materials. Workers who remove asbestos containing materials are also at a high risk for being exposed to the mineral. Demolition workers, drywall removers, and asbestos removal workers all work within the field of removing products that have asbestos in them. Asbestos is very common in older buildings, especially in the drywall and tiles of older buildings, so demolition workers and drywall removers must be very careful to not attempt to remove anything that could have asbestos in them. An asbestos abatement team must come by and safely remove all of the asbestos.
Many workers had to handle asbestos for a long period of time before we knew that they caused diseases. Asbestos related diseases do not take effect until later in life, so it took many decades for us to realize that it was asbestos exposure that was causing all of the health problems in these workers. Luckily, asbestos today are very heavily regulated, so most workers will not have to come into contact with asbestos unless it is deemed safe to.