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Welders and Asbestos Exposure

welders at a factory

Welders join pieces of metal by heat and pressure. The smoke from welding and hot work consists of gases and very fine particles, including asbestos fibers.  An estimated 500,000 welders are employed in a number of industries, such as shipbuilding, automobile manufacturing and repair, aerospace, construction, utilities and oil refineries. Asbestos was widely used as insulation and fireproofing in shipbuilding and other industrial settings because of its durability and resistance to heat. Many of the industries that employ welders have an elevated incidence of mesothelioma and asbestos-related disease.

In addition to asbestos gloves and asbestos blankets, some welding rods were coated with a mixture containing 5 percent to 15 percent asbestos. The asbestos fibers may be released during the heating of the rod.

A 2010 study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine identified welding among the occupations at high risk of developing mesothelioma, based on workplace exposure to asbestos. Occupational exposure to asbestos is the most important risk factor for pleural mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung. If you worked as a welder in the 1960s or 1970s, you may only recently have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or asbestos-related disease because of the long latency period of the disease.

Alcan

448 Country Route 1A
Oswego, NY

ALCOA

Park Avenue East
Massena, ny 13662

bethlehem steel blast furnace

Bethlehem Steel

lackawanna, ny

old chimeney

Carrier Corporation

6304 Thompson Road
Syracuse, ny

Foster Wheeler

9431 Foster Wheeler Road
Dansville, ny 14437

water tower

Reynolds Metal

194 Country Route 45
Massena, ny 13662