Mesothelioma in Civil Engineers

Quick Summary

Civil Engineers are at moderate risk of developing mesothelioma due to the amount of asbestos exposure they’re exposed to throughout their careers. While they don’t work directly with asbestos, inhaling nearby fibers can be dangerous and detrimental to a person’s health.

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Mesothelioma and Civil Engineers Explained

Civil engineers are responsible for the infrastructure and design of a city or a form of transportation. They work on constructions sites, demolition areas, building renovations and road repairs, meaning they are often exposed to building materials and dust from projects.

Many old buildings, bridges and structures were known to contain asbestos for insulation, particularly between 1940 and 1980. Even today it’s considered dangerous to repair these types of buildings as asbestos fibers can be released into the air.

Civil engineers working in these dangerous areas can inhale asbestos fibers, which become lodged in the lining of lungs, abdomen or heart. Over time, abestos fibers can damage tissues, causing mesothelioma.

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History of Asbestos Exposure in Civil Engineering

Civil engineers are in charge of the development and maintenance of a public area. They can work in construction, waterways, transportation, the environment and roadworks, but the most dangerous field for asbestos-exposure was construction.

Asbestos could be found on almost every construction site in the U.S. before 1980. At that time there were no health and safety regulations or safety equipment.

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Because the civil engineers weren’t as close to the structures as construction workers were, they were not supplied with face masks or proper equipment to protect them from the dangerous asbestos fibers.

Asbestos was used because it was cheap and reliable. The material is ideal for reinforcing products that could be prone to fire damage. Because it’s lightweight, asbestos was also used as wall insulation. Many employers have been accused of knowing the dangers of asbestos since the 1930s, but it wasn’t until the late 1970s that its use started to be phased out.

Highest Risk Jobs for Asbestos Exposure in Civil Engineers

Construction was one of the most significant industries with risks of asbestos exposure in civil engineers. The dust from building works commonly contained the material, and civil engineers could carry them around on their clothing—even after leaving the site.

Another infamous industry for asbestos exposure was roadworks. In dry weather, roadworks would become very dusty environments. The dust particles were damaging enough to the airways in the short-term, causing cough and difficulty breathing. But with asbestos particles in the mix, it became an even more dangerous occupation.

Civil engineers at the time weren’t given any protective clothing to wear when visiting sites. They would often carry asbestos fibers back to the office on their clothes and shoes, contaminating another workspace and other colleagues.

Did you know?

Demolition works were a hazard zone for asbestos exposure, and many civil engineers spent hours per day walking around sites with no protective equipment.

Other areas were civil engineers could come into contact with asbestos include:

  • Older buildings
  • Disturbed asbestos during renovations
  • Concrete foundations
  • Building materials such as roofing, insulation, flooring and walls
  • Heating and ventilation (often packed with asbestos)
  • Equipment such as brakes, gaskets and clutches in transport

While asbestos isn’t used in today’s construction industry, many older factories, buildings and industrial areas are rife with the material from when they were first built.

Civil engineers are warned to be careful when working in renovations because the dust surrounding the area could contain fibers of asbestos.

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Civil Engineers and Asbestos Lawsuits

Civil engineers who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma may be eligible for compensation.

Laws relating to mesothelioma and asbestos-related cancers vary by state. Depending on your state, you may have 1-3 years from your diagnosis to file a personal injury claim. Unfortunately, many patients can die before the claim has a chance to go through. In this instance, the patient’s family can file a lawsuit for wrongful death.

Seeking advice from a lawyer experienced in mesothelioma cases is essential. Experienced lawyers are aware of exactly how asbestos was used on worksites and know which employers have a history of negligence.

If you spent your military or civilian career as a civil engineer and you’ve developed mesothelioma, contact our VA-Accredited Claims Agents 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.

View Sources

"Civil Engineering Materials." Retrieved from: Accessed on March 23, 2018.

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