Mesothelioma in Cabinet Makers

Quick Summary

Cabinet makers are at moderate risk of asbestos exposure that causes mesothelioma and other asbestos-related conditions. Craftsmen who worked with asbestos-containing supplies in dusty workshops or at workplaces with asbestos problems may have inhaled the harmful fibers.

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Mesothelioma and Cabinet Makers Explained

Cabinet makers encountered asbestos in various ways during the 1900s. Building materials like particle board, wood glue and veneer contained asbestos. Craftsmen faced exposure when they inadvertently inhaled or ingested the harmful asbestos fibers while working with little ventilation.

Asbestos exposure was also a threat on job sites. Some cabinet makers built their products at construction sites, factories, military bases and other workplaces plagued with histories of wrongful exposure.

History of Asbestos Exposure in Cabinet Makers

Cabinet makers have been working their craft for thousands of years. But it was not until the 1900s that building materials, tools and worksites started containing asbestos. This new risk exposed cabinet makers to asbestos and the threat of developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related conditions.

A wide range of cabinet-making supplies contained asbestos during the 20th century. Fire-resistant, lightweight and durable, asbestos was suitable for product manufacturers and cabinet makers alike.

Cabinet makers may have been exposed to asbestos while using these products:

  • Particleboard
  • Corkboard
  • Flexboard
  • Wood fiber plaster
  • Wood glue and adhesives
  • Paper lining/backing
  • Veneer
  • Paint, stains and finishes

Metal cabinets like safes, lockers, filing cabinets and storage bins also used asbestos-containing adhesives and paper lining.

Did you know?

Remington Rand produced cabinets and safes that contained asbestos strips in the drawer heads and have since been removed from offices.

Cabinet makers worked in numerous capacities during the 1900s and today. Some craftsmen worked for furniture manufacturers building cabinets in a workshop. Others operated on-site at industrial, residential and commercial worksites where they created and installed their cabinets.

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Cabinet Making After World War II

After World War II, some veterans took up cabinetry upon returning home. Many started their own business making cabinets in a modest shop and installing them at various sites around the community. Working in small confines with little ventilation put these cabinet makers of inhaling asbestos fibers.

Highest Risk Worksites for Asbestos Exposure in Cabinet Makers

Cabinet makers performed their craft on a variety of worksites across the country. Cabinetry tends to evoke household furniture, but workers also produced cabinets for businesses, military bases and public service buildings.

Some high-risk worksites for cabinet makers include:

  • Industrial Sites: Farms, plants, mills, power stations, factories, mines
  • Businesses: Restaurants, hotels, shops, kiosks
  • Residential Buildings: New homes, renovation sites, high-rises
  • Military Structures: Bases, naval ships, dockyards, barracks, storage units
  • Service Centers: First responder stations, schools, libraries, hospitals, government buildings, sports fields and arenas
  • Transportation: Ferries, pleasure vessels, trains, depots, airports

Asbestos exposure in cabinet makers continues to be a risk today.

When building or installing cabinets at a home or business undergoing renovation, workers are susceptible to inhaling asbestos fibers that become airborne when disturbed. Old structures contain asbestos in the walls, floor, roof, pipes and elsewhere around the property.

Restoration Woodworking and Asbestos Exposure

Restoration woodworkers who specialize in repairing antique cabinets risk exposure when working on old furniture that contains asbestos. Similarly, workers who repurpose old cabinets are at risk of inhaling asbestos fibers when tearing apart fixtures.

Improved asbestos regulations and safety precautions decrease the risk of exposure to cabinet makers. Worksites are often equipped with ventilation and vacuum systems that better remove dust from the air. Most cabinet makers now wear masks and protective clothing to safeguard against inhaling harmful particles.

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Cabinet Makers and Asbestos Lawsuits

If you have developed an asbestos-related disease from working as a cabinet maker, you may qualify for compensation. Billions of dollars are available through trust funds set up by manufacturers of asbestos-containing materials.

For example, Armstrong World Industries, which produced building supplies and employed cabinet makers, established a $2 million trust in 2006.

Many mesothelioma victims are entitled to sue their former employers for wrongful asbestos exposure in the workplace. Direct family members who lost a loved one to an asbestos condition can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Laws surrounding asbestos litigation vary state-by-state, and it’s vital to know your state’s laws state regarding filing mesothelioma lawsuits.

If you are a veteran with mesothelioma, you may be eligible for financial compensation through the VA. Please contact our VA-Accredited Claims Agents to find out.

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.

View Sources

Armstrong World Industries Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust, “Overview.” Retrieved from Accessed on April 5, 2018.

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