Why is occupational exposure to asbestos so prevalent?

Minneapolis workers’ compensation attorney, Dean Salita, discusses how asbestos started as a fire retardant, but was known to be dangerous to people. Veterans coming home after World War II who worked in trades, like pipe-fitters, plumbers, electricians, teachers, and others who worked in older buildings, were exposed to asbestos.

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Asbestos has a long history. Asbestos was a product that was used as a fire retardant and it worked. It was a terrific fire retardant. But what happened is there was a lot of knowledge that the product was really poor and not healthy to individuals. So what’s happened is over the course of years, and I always treat it like a little history lesson, that the World War II people came back, gentlemen came back — and, unfortunately, it’s mostly men who get this still. There are women that get it too. And they came back, started building the country. The pipefitters, the plumbers, the electricians. It was in buildings, so even laypeople, teachers, different people got asbestosis and had exposure. And different people, depending on their body makeup, take it different. You and I can be in the same room and exposed to the same amount of asbestos. One of us may get a disease and one may not. So exposure to asbestos for prolonged exposure, unfortunately for the – people ended up getting sick as a result of this.