An electrician helps to maintain the electrical system of a building, and he can also help to act as a consultant for HVAC workers and elevator installers.
The electrical system will run through the wall, and most of the exposure from asbestos will happen as you repair the wires that already exist in the electrical system. This usually happens when the electrician assists with the remodeling of an older building because this is where you will run across the contaminants.
Exposure in the Profession
One of the most common places where you will encounter exposure is through the repair of older electrical equipment because in the past, asbestos-based fibers were used to help protect the equipment from fires and overheating. When an electrician goes to repair the electrical system or maintain it, this is particularly when he will be vulnerable to breathing in the asbestos-based fibers.
These fibers are 100 times smaller than the hairs on your head, which is why you don’t notice them. As you breathe them, it can be exceptionally difficult to get rid of these fibers from your lungs.
Another one of the major problems that electricians will face is how they often have to remove this insulation before they can continue working on the electrical system. When they go to do this, they stir up the fibers, and they can get these contaminants on their clothes and in their lungs if they’re not wearing a respiratory protector. Removing insulation that has been sprayed with asbestos is a necessary part of the job for an electrician, but it often releases the contaminants into the air. Turbines, generators and water heater units will all sometimes have these kinds of contaminants in them.
Italian researchers had been conducting a study where they interviewed and examined 119 people who were involved in electrician work. These were people who get exposed to the dangers through the trade. Their goal in examining the test subjects was to determine some of the specific markers that occur. These markers can be found within the body at high levels when someone has been exposed to asbestos-related products.
If an individual has too high of a level of these biomarkers, it means that they most likely have an underlying disease or it hasn’t been discovered. When an individual has a much higher level of biomarkers, it indicates how they have a more severe condition.
What the Italian researchers learned through this study was how asbestos-related products often increased the 80HdG content within the body. Whenever someone had 80HdG, it meant you could also find what’s called mesothelin. Mesothelin is a certain kind of protein that is found on specific cells that are either normal or cancerous.
Just an example of how asbestos-related products can be spread through clothing, Julie Gundlach, the daughter of an electrician, filed a lawsuit back in 2010. She developed mesothelioma as a result of it being brought home through her father’s clothing. Experts refer to this type of exposure as, “take-home exposure.”
The lawsuit talked about how she and her sister used to play in the laundry room where her father left his contaminated clothing. Julie showed no signs of developing this illness for the longest time. Julie’s father died from lung cancer back in 2005, but he worked in the Madison County area of Washington. Luckily, Julie’s sister and mother do not exhibit signs that they could be developing this disease. One of the biggest problems with mesothelioma is the high mortality rate.
In fact, this fatal disease is expected to kill within 12 months of contracting it. Around 40 percent of those diagnosed will only live to the first year. In addition, only nine percent will live longer than five years.
Some of the most common manufacturers for asbestos-related products in the field of electrical work include Union Carbide and General Electric. Both of these companies have been listed as the defendants of lawsuits because of manufacturing these asbestos-related products.