Were first responders exposed to asbestos in building collapse?

For decades, workers were exposed to asbestos on the job without their knowledge. Many times employers and business owners were aware that employees were being exposed to the toxic fiber, but no action was taken to protect them. In many cases, employers simply believed that doing so would cost too much money. Since then, many people have developed asbestos-related diseases as a result of their job, and they have ended up paying the ultimate price.

Diseases that are caused by asbestos can be devastating. Often times, a diagnosis for mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis comes too late and victims are too sick for treatment to be effective. Many people die shortly after a diagnosis. This is why people should be concerned about their own safety on the job and end up filing a workers’ compensation claim. With financial support from workers’ compensation, an employee can be reimbursed for the medical treatment they may require after being exposed to asbestos.

Many first responders in Philadelphia may be considering this route after a recent building collapse may have exposed them to asbestos. Their concerns are certainly valid. The building came crashing down and firefighters and emergency crews rushed to the site in order to provide help. According to reports, the firefighters were not wearing protective clothing to shield them from any airborne and toxic asbestos that may have been released in the collapse.

Now they are understandably concerned that they were exposed to asbestos. An asbestos investigator reportedly visited the site after the collapse and stated that there was no asbestos in the building. Any relief from that news was short-lived, as the investigator stated that he never conducted an asbestos test. He said he saw no evidence to suggest the presence of the fiber and so he never took samples to test.

People feel as though authorities may be trying to hide the fact that asbestos was not only present in the building, but that first responders did breathe in the toxic dust. An investigation is underway.

Other people who believe they have been exposed to asbestos on the job should remember that they have the right to speak with an attorney in order to prevent negligent or irresponsible parties from getting away with asbestos violations. By taking legal action, workers who have been exposed can pursue compensation so that they can get the testing and treatment they need.

Source: Newsworks, First responders fear asbestos exposure at deadly building collapse site,” Harry Hairston and Karen Araiza, June 29, 2013