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How Can a Person Know if They Were Exposed to Asbestos?

Posted by Michael Throneberry | Feb 19, 2024

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was widely used between the 1940s and 1970s because of its unique and desirable properties. Asbestos has excellent heat-resistant properties and effective insulating properties. This mineral is also strong and highly resistant to fire and combustion. It was not until the late 1970s that the use of asbestos began to decline. By this time, there was increased awareness of the health hazards of this mineral. Asbestos can cause mesothelioma and other serious illnesses, such as asbestosis and lung cancer. However, while asbestos is no longer widely used, asbestos-contaminated materials still exist.

Because asbestos fibers are too small, it is impossible to tell if you are breathing them in. So, when diagnosed with an illness associated with asbestos exposure, a question many people ask themselves is how they can tell if they were exposed to asbestos. So, how can a person know if they were exposed to asbestos? The following are some potential signs and considerations that can help a person determine if they may have been exposed to asbestos.

Occupational History

Workers in certain industries handle asbestos-containing materials regularly. One sign that a person may have been exposed to asbestos is if they have ever worked in a high-risk industry. At-risk industries for asbestos exposure include the following;






      Aircraft maintenance

      Boiler work


      Auto Repair

A Loved One's Occupational History

An individual may not have worked in a high-risk job. But if their loved one worked in a high-risk job, there is a high chance they may have been exposed to asbestos through their loved one. Asbestos fibers can settle on clothes, hair, and shoes. Bringing asbestos fibers home on clothes, hair, or shoes can lead to second-hand or secondary asbestos exposure. This type of exposure can be just as serious as occupational exposure.

Living or Working in Older Buildings

Many older buildings, especially those constructed before the 1980s, contain asbestos-contaminated materials. Before the dangers of asbestos became widely known, many construction materials, such as ceiling tiles, flooring, cement foundations, and insulation, commonly included asbestos. A person who has lived or worked in an older building may have been exposed to asbestos. Over time, asbestos-containing materials can fall apart or break down. Once this happens, it puts people in that building at risk of exposure.

Asbestos is the Only Known Cause of Mesothelioma

When someone is diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is almost certain that they suffered asbestos exposure. This is because asbestos exposure is the primary and most well-established cause of mesothelioma. However, the long latency period between asbestos exposure and mesothelioma development can make it challenging to pinpoint the exact cause of the illness in some cases. That said, it is vital to note that not everyone who is exposed to asbestos ends up developing mesothelioma.

Arizona Mesothelioma Lawyers

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced Arizona mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.



About the Author

Michael Throneberry

Attorney Michael Throneberry graduated from Purdue University with a Civil Engineering degree. He then served with the United States Army...

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