Mesothelioma in Electricians

Quick Summary

Electricians may be at risk of asbestos exposure when they repair wiring systems during renovation projects on older buildings. The daily exposure to these building materials can cause exposure to asbestos. In turn, electricians may later develop asbestos-related illnesses, such as mesothelioma.

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The Link Between Mesothelioma & Electricians

Electricians are responsible for the installation and maintenance of various types of electrical products.

Many of these products contained asbestos since asbestos was an inexpensive mineral used for fireproofing in shipyards and other industries due to its heat-resistant qualities.

Asbestos exposure is the only known cause of mesothelioma, a deadly type of cancer.

Electricians exposed to asbestos could end up with a mesothelioma diagnosis later in life due to this exposure.

Occupational Asbestos Exposure in Electricians

As part of the job, electricians find themselves in small spaces such as in-between walls and in crawl spaces and attics that are sometimes insulated with asbestos-containing materials.

They are also responsible for the installation and repair of electrical panels that are not up to code. This may involve dealing with wiring and linings that have been insulated with asbestos.

Licensed electricians often work alongside engineers, architects, and construction workers when new buildings are being designed or older buildings are being renovated. They also consult on jobs requiring the installation of elevators and various types of power systems.

Prior to the 1980s, homes and other buildings were insulated with asbestos construction materials. The insulation was not just in the walls of the buildings. It was also used to insulate plumbing fixtures, boilers, and electrical systems.

Due to the widespread use of asbestos in electrical work, electricians were at increased risk for developing mesothelioma and other asbestos diseases.

If you or a loved one were exposed to asbestos on electric or power plant job sites and later developed mesothelioma, you may have options for compensation.

Ways Electricians Were at Risk of Asbestos Exposure

Until around 1980, electricians were commonly exposed to asbestos fibers as part of their job.

Asbestos was valued in electrician and construction businesses because it was fire-proof and extremely heat resistant. This meant that it was safe to use around electrical wiring and posed less of a fire hazard than other insulation products.

Yet occupational exposure to such high concentrations of asbestos was not safe for the people who worked in these industries.

Here are some ways electricians may have been exposed to asbestos on the job:

  • Breaking through drywall, which may have been lined with asbestos insulation. This process could release airborne asbestos.
  • Crawling in tight spaces, which may be required throughout the wiring process and gives airborne asbestos nowhere to go.
  • Cutting and maintaining wiring, which may have been located behind drywall lined with chrysotile asbestos insulation.

The History of the Asbestos and Electricians

Electricity dates back to the latter part of the 19th century. It began to be used on a widespread basis fairly quickly. By the beginning of the 20th century, electricians worked in new building construction and in the maintenance of electrical systems.

This was potentially dangerous work for many reasons. Burns and shocks were common. But they were also required to work on construction sites where asbestos was used to insulate not only the buildings, but the wiring providing electricity to those buildings.

Electricians are highly trained and must be licensed. The training period and apprenticeships are quite long, and the electrician often works for many decades on the job, both in installing new electrical systems and in repairing broken electrical systems.

Nowadays, asbestos isn’t used in the making of new construction products. However, electrician asbestos exposure still occurs when electricians work on older homes and buildings being renovated.

Electricians and Asbestos Exposure

There are a variety of products used by electricians that contain asbestos.

Some of these products include:

  • Arc chutes
  • Breaker boxes
  • Conduits
  • Ceiling tiles
  • Floor tiles
  • Spackle
  • Thermal paper
  • Decorative plaster
  • Drywall
  • Electrical wiring insulation materials
  • Dement siding
  • Electrical cloth
  • Electrical panels
  • Electrical partitions
  • Turbines

Asbestos isn’t used in most of these products today, but it wasn’t too long ago that asbestos was used in every one of these products. Electricians are still exposed to asbestos when they work with these products in older buildings.

Risk of Mesothelioma in Electricians

Both current and former electricians who have worked with asbestos-containing products may be at risk of developing mesothelioma.

No amount of asbestos exposure is a safe amount, and many electricians during the 1940s to late 1970s were exposed to the mineral during daily work.

There are several types of mesothelioma, including pleural mesothelioma (also called pleural malignant mesothelioma), peritoneal mesothelioma, and pericardial mesothelioma. Asbestos is the only known cause for all of these forms of cancer.

Though mesothelioma has a poor prognosis, there are treatment options. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation and immunotherapy can help improve quality of life and life expectancy.

In addition, former electricians may be able to seek compensation through a number of avenues if they have received a mesothelioma diagnosis linked to their work.

Asbestos Diseases and Electricians

Often, electricians did not know that asbestos was so dangerous. In many cases, no symptoms of this exposure appear until decades after the exposure, when electricians had already developed asbestos-related diseases.

Typical diseases electricians who were exposed to asbestos develop include asbestos-related lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma.

All of these diseases are fatal and result in symptoms such as shortness of breath, weight loss, coughing, wheezing, and chest pain.

The electrician may believe that these symptoms are related to something else. It isn’t until a thorough evaluation takes place that the diagnosis of asbestos-related illnesses is made.

Compensation Options for Electricians With Mesothelioma

Do you have mesothelioma after working as an electrician?

Here are some options you may explore to seek legal action against manufacturers of asbestos products to fight for compensation.

Asbestos Trust Fund Claims

An asbestos trust fund claim allows you to seek compensation from trust funds established by companies that made asbestos materials.

These companies were forced to establish funds to protect current and future asbestos-exposure victims after the companies filed for bankruptcy due to the sheer number of asbestos lawsuits.

To learn if you qualify for one or more asbestos trust funds, reach out to a mesothelioma law firm.

Asbestos Lawsuits

If you are not eligible to file a claim with a trust fund, you may be able to pursue the asbestos company through a lawsuit.

Asbestos lawsuits also provide compensation for mesothelioma patients or their family members if they were harmed due to secondary exposure.

If you lost a loved one due to mesothelioma, you may be able to file a mesothelioma wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf.

Find Help for Electricians Diagnosed With Mesothelioma

Are you an electrician who’s been diagnosed with mesothelioma? You may have been a victim of occupational asbestos exposure, and you have options for financial resources.

The team at the Mesothelioma Veterans Center can help you understand your options and—if you qualify—put you in touch with legal experts who can help you get compensated for your exposure to asbestos. Call (877) 450-8973 to talk to our team today.

Veterans Support Team
Christopher Dryfoos PhotoWritten by:

Contributing Author

Christopher Dryfoos is a journalist and member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA). As the grandson of the U.S. Navy’s first forensic pathologist, he aims to help veterans with mesothelioma access needed care.

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