5 Most Common Ways People Are Exposed to Asbestos

Until about four decades ago, most structures in Hawaii were built with material containing asbestos, including the state’s military bases, state buildings, homes and even schools.

While the health risks from these materials are well-known today, the use of asbestos – while highly regulated in Hawaii – is still allowed in certain products, creating serious risk for anyone who comes in contact with them.

Asbestos is composed of six minerals that occur naturally in the environment as bundles of fibers that can be separated into extremely fine threads for commercial and industrial uses. The fibers are resistant to heat, fire and chemicals and do not conduct electricity.

We can help.

Asbestos has been used widely in many different industries, such as manufacturing, building and construction. It strengthens cement and plastics and is commonly used for insulation, roofing, fireproofing and sound absorption. The naval industry has used asbestos for those reasons and to insulate boilers, steam pipes and hot water pipes.

Military and civilian workers at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard were exposed to excessive amounts of asbestos dust during ship overhauls and repairs there after World War II and through the 1980s.

Asbestos has been known to cause cancer of the lungs, particularly when inhaled. Malignant mesothelioma is a cancer of the mesothelium that lines the lung, chest wall and abdomen. About 3,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, according to the American Cancer Society. Diagnosis typically occurs decades after exposure, and it is almost always fatal.

Here are the five main sources of asbestos exposure:

  1. U.S. Military – Many veterans and their families have been exposed to asbestos on military bases, ships, aircraft, barracks and vehicles. Estimates are that roughly 30% of all current mesothelioma patients in the United States are veterans. You may be eligible for disability compensation based on asbestos exposure if you had contact with asbestos while serving in the military and didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge. If you get a disability rating, you may also be eligible for VA health care and other benefits.
  2. Home renovation – Construction workers, electricians and even plumbers work on home renovations involving products known to contain asbestos. These products include certain kinds of paint, insulation, wire coating, pipe casing, floor tiles, popcorn ceilings and roofing materials. The projects become more dangerous when homeowners attempt to perform do-it-yourself projects instead of hiring professionals who may easily recognize asbestos hazards and know the requirements for proper handling with protective equipment. While professionals may be aware of the safety protocols, there is still no safe level of contact with asbestos.
  3. Forces of nature – Any natural disaster that destroys communities can disturb old asbestos building materials, releasing the fibrous mineral. Disturbance can make the carcinogenic fibers airborne, creating a risk of exposure through inhalation. Then there are the hazards of cleaning up afterward, which require homeowners and relief crews to handle asbestos-contaminated debris. Some of the most common forces of nature that can result in asbestos exposure are wildfires, hurricanes and tornadoes – all of which involve damaging winds or flooding that are destructive in their own right but even more so when asbestos is involved.
  4. Car mechanics – Mechanics who work on luxury imported cars or vintage cars built before current regulations may face asbestos exposure. Additionally, brake cleaning techniques can release asbestos into the air, which is risky for anyone in the vicinity. The asbestos in these vehicles can make auto maintenance even more dangerous when performed at home. Asbestos is still used because of its heat and friction resilience in brake linings, brake pads, hood lining, clutch discs, transmission parts, valve rings, and gaskets, complicating those common repairs.
  5. Cosmetics with talcum powder – The beauty industry has utilized the soft qualities of talcum powder in cosmetics despite the tendency for talc, a naturally occurring mineral, to be contaminated with asbestos. This intermingling of minerals results from geological conditions that cause talcum deposits to be in close proximity to asbestos deposits, making contamination more common than expected. Nevertheless, talc is used in a wide range of cosmetics, hygiene goods and everyday products.

How We Help Victims of Asbestos Exposure in Hawaii

Seek justice with the help of our experienced Hawaii asbestos attorneys. Our mesothelioma law firm has represented Hawaii residents like you affected by asbestos exposure for over 40 years, aggressively fighting the corporate giants responsible for their dangerous products. If you or a loved one were exposed to asbestos or suffered from a disease caused by asbestos, like mesothelioma, we can help.

Category: Asbestos


View All

We Can Help

We provide free initial consultations. If you believe you or a loved one has a claim or a potential lawsuit, we are willing to meet with you to evaluate your claim with no obligation on your part. To learn more about your legal rights and options, please contact us to receive a free initial consultation.

Free Case Evaluation

Full Name(Required)
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.