First Responders, Investigators Often Exposed to Asbestos

Posted on October 3, 2016 at 8:32am by

Did you know that firefighters and other first responders are often exposed to asbestos during emergency situations? Photo of lung scan

Sadly, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health reported in 2014 that firefighters in particular have higher rates of cancer than other public sector workers, due to the harmful exposure to chemicals and toxic materials they encounter. The agency reported that in addition to flame-retardant chemicals, some firefighters are exposed to asbestos as they enter buildings during emergencies.

While asbestos materials are mostly outlawed in modern building design and coding, it was very commonly used in structures built before the 1980s—so when rescue workers enter older buildings, they may be putting themselves at risk. In addition to firefighters, other employees who may be exposed to asbestos during emergency situations include police officers, EMS workers, structural and design experts, as well as crime scene investigators and construction workers.

Perhaps the starkest example of this type of harmful exposure occurred during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City. During the event, and during rescue and recovery efforts, and clean up, thousands of workers were exposed to harmful toxins from the buildings and debris. Since the attacks, countless people have died and/or suffered tremendous respiratory injuries.

Keep in mind, asbestos exposure is directly linked to mesothelioma, colon cancer, stomach cancer, throat cancer and kidney cancer.

Asbestos Slows Down Deadly Hoboken Train Crash Investigation

We bring this subject up because recently news broke that harmful asbestos materials were slowing down the investigation into the deadly Hoboken train crash that occurred in New Jersey at the end of September 2016.

According to NBC News, as of October 1, investigators could not gain access to the front part of the train where an event recorder and camera are located, because the station where the disaster occurred suffered heavy structural damage and asbestos levels were high.

“Extensive debris removal must be completed before investigators can access the train and then have the train removed,” the National Transportation Safety Board said in a statement. The station is more than a century old, media outlets reported.

Can I File a Mesothelioma Lawsuit?

If you believe that you were exposed to asbestos at work and now suffer from respiratory problems, you should contact our mesothelioma attorneys, regardless of whether you were or are employed in the public sector.

We may be able to investigate your case and determine if someone can be held liable for your injuries, including an asbestos manufacturer. A list of manufacturers who made asbestos-containing products and when those products were used is available here.

Contact us today for a free consultation if you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another respiratory ailment. You could be entitled to damages.

Cappolino Dodd Krebs LLP – Mesothelioma Attorneys