A New Jersey Carpenter who specialized in the installation of commercial ceiling systems, recently successfully settled his asbestos exposure case, demonstrating once again that asbestos exposure continues to injure American workers. In this case, ceiling materials and products were laced with asbestos fibers as part of the manufacturing process; they were often included in the manufacturing process in order to add strength and fire protection qualities to the products.
Unfortunately, the use of asbestos in those materials created a dangerous situation for the workers who inhaled the fibers during the installation process. The family members of those workers may have also been at risk through second hand exposure. Second hand exposure occurs when the fibers are unintentionally brought home on a worker's clothing and then released in the home.
Asbestos, though banned for most uses today, is still a very serious problem. There are buildings and products still in use that were produced or built when the use of asbestos was legal. Exposure to asbestos fibers can cause mesothelioma, a dangerous and often lethal cancer. It can take years to develop after the initial exposure. There are typically no symptoms at the time of exposure, resulting in no advance warning of the often deadly disease.
Ceiling materials are not the only places where asbestos fibers lurk. They are sometimes found in electronics, insulation, cement products and mortar, insulating linings, boilers, pipe coatings, and many other construction and manufactured products. Dangerous exposure could occur at the time of manufacturing or installation, while the product is in regular use, during repairs, and the time of disposal or demolition. Strict safety and protective guidelines must be followed when asbestos is present.
Below is an excerpt from an older EPA video on asbestos. Though it lacks the slickness of a newer video, it effectively explains the danger of asbestos. If you have a chance take a look.