Longshoremen may also be at risk of asbestos exposure
There are likely few people today that are unaware of the dangers posed by asbestos exposure. In fact, many have heard the horror stories related to members of our nation’s military being exposed to the hazardous substance while serving their country – in particular members of the Navy who are exposed to the asbestos used in the construction of older Naval ships. Sadly, these risks are also shared by countless sailors on civilian ships.
However, many may be surprised to discover that sailors are not the only ones burdened with the threat of asbestos exposure stemming from their proximately to asbestos-filled ships. For instance, the longshoreman who work on the docks loading and unloading cargo from ships can be put in circumstances where exposure to asbestos is a distinct possibility.
And, given the strong link between asbestos exposure and the deadly cancer known as mesothelioma, longshoremen may consequently be at risk of developing this fatal disease as well.
Asbestos on the docks
Asbestos was commonly used in shipbuilding due to its ability to resist heat and insulate extremely well – the same qualities that led to its widespread use in consumer products.
Unfortunately, longshoremen have to deal with both consumer products and ships as they perform their daily work responsibilities, thus increasing their likelihood of coming into contact with asbestos from both sources.
Furthermore, if a longshoreman happens to be moving cargo that may contain asbestos, the simple act of moving the goods may disturb the asbestos, causing the fibers to become airborne and inhaled – which can lead to the development of mesothelioma if the asbestos fibers become embedded in the longshoreman’s lungs.
Even though asbestos is not as common as it once was – particularly in new consumer products – it was extensively used during the shipbuilding boom of WWII through the Vietnam conflict. This is especially worrisome given the fact many of these asbestos-laden vessels could be used for several decades, not to mention that symptoms of mesothelioma may not even manifest themselves for 10 to 40 years after asbestos exposure. Tragically, this means that many of the longshoremen exposed to asbestos many years ago may still inevitably develop mesothelioma.
Assistance may be available
Depending on a longshoreman’s particular circumstances, various remedies may be available. For instance, in some instances relief may be available through the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, however every situation is different.
If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure while working as a longshoreman, it may be advisable to speak with an experienced mesothelioma attorney to be advised of your rights and options given your specific circumstances.