Engineers and Mesothelioma
Engineers use the principles of mathematics and science to design and develop new products and solve technical problems. There are more than a dozen different kinds of engineers. Some engineers specialize in a particular industry. For example, marine engineers are involved in the design and construction of ships, submarines and boats. Mechanical engineers develop electrical generators, turbines, air conditioning equipment and industrial production equipment. Electrical engineers design, test and supervise the manufacture of electrical equipment.
How Are Engineers Exposed to Asbestos?
Engineers are involved in design and construction of buildings, machinery and equipment. They often are present at a job site when a building or ship is being constructed or renovated. They may oversee the installation of a piece of industrial equipment or machinery. Civil engineers may be involved in highway design and construction. Asbestos was used in construction materials equipment and insulation until the 1980s. Many older buildings contain asbestos, and hazardous asbestos dust can become airborne if disturbed, allowing it to be inhaled. Many engineering jobs have an occupational risk of exposure to asbestos, a cancer-causing material used in many industrial applications.
Are Engineers Still At Risk of Exposure to Asbestos?
Yes. While asbestos isn’t commonly used today in new construction, many older buildings and factories contain asbestos. Engineers may encounter cancer-causing asbestos dust while overseeing the renovation of a building or factory, the replacement of a turbine or other industrial equipment or remodeling at a power plant.
Why Are Engineers Still at Risk of Getting Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma has a long latency period before symptoms are noticeable. An engineer exposed to asbestos in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s or 1980s may only recently have begun experiencing symptoms or been diagnosed with mesothelioma.
A 2003 study by researchers at the University of Iceland found an increased incidence of mesothelioma among marine engineers due to past exposure to asbestos. Another report in the scientific literature describes pleural mesothelioma in a nuclear engineer who had been employed in the design and development of nuclear reactors and atomic power stations.
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