Welders and Asbestos Exposure
Welder have a risk of being exposed to asbestos since asbestos was commonly used to insulate and fireproof in industrial settings, including shipbuilding, since asbestos is incredibly durable and resistant to heat. Welders join pieces of metal together using heat and pressure, and during their work, gases and fine particles get released, including asbestos dust and fibers. Welders can then inhale those fibers which can lead to an asbestos-related disease.
In the past, welders would wear gloves or use blankets that were lined with asbestos, giving welders further exposure. Also, some welding rods had a mixture on them that could contain 5% to 15% asbestos. When those rods were heated, fibers could get released into the air.
Welders and Mesothelioma
Exposure to asbestos is an occupational hazard that welders face. If welders have breathed in asbestos dust or fibers while they are working, it puts them at risk for developing a serious respiratory illness, such as mesothelioma. Welders who worked during the 1960s and 1970s may only now be experiencing symptoms since the disease has a long latency period.