Center for Asbestos Safety

Who is at risk for asbestos diseases?

Asbestos Exposure

Malignant mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure. There is a latency period of 20 to 50 years between initial exposure and development of the disease with the average being between 35 and 40 years. Rare instances have been documented when the interval was much less than 20 years.

The incidence of mesothelioma rises with the intensity and duration of exposure to asbestos. However, there are numerous cases of mesothelioma among people with very little occupational exposure or even household exposure. There are cases of people getting mesothelioma 30 or 40 years after having who had a summer job working construction in high school and cases of housewives being exposed from their husband's laundry or children getting exposed to the asbestos dust on their father's clothes. Many people being diagnosed with mesothelioma today were exposed in the Navy many years ago, often unknowingly.

Who was exposed

Literally millions of people worldwide were exposed to unhealthy levels of asbestos over the decades. The exposure was due not only to ignorance, since it has been documented that the asbestos industry knew of the dangers as early as the 1920s. Since the creation of OSHA in 1970 there have been standards for workplace exposure. But even the exposure limits have been lowered since they were first introduced.

Materials Containing Asbestos

Most insulation materials before the mid-1970s contained asbestos. Many other construction materials also contained asbestos. Some of the most common products were


The following tradesmen could have worked around asbestos: Industries

Industries that exposed workers to asbestos include:

What should you do if you were exposed? Find out here.

NIOSH on Asbestos

Washington State Workplace Safety Center

House Committee on Education and the Workforce

Time from Exposure to Symptoms

Center for Asbestos
Safety in the Workplace