Even though asbestos has now been on the medical radar for decades, that does not mean that asbestos is done hurting people. Today, people are still afflicted by cancer due to asbestos exposure. Many of these recent cases are part of what is known as the “third wave” of asbestos cases.
The first two waves came from well-known sources. The first wave involved people who worked directly with the asbestos itself, people like miners and millers. The second wave involved people such as insulators and shipbuilders, people who worked with products made with asbestos.
Third wave asbestos cases stem from exposure to asbestos that is dormant in products that are still in use, products such as brakes, pipes and ceiling tiles. For instance, Kris Penny, a 39-year old in Florida, recently contracted mesothelioma after inhaling asbestos while installing telecommunications cable through existing underground cement pipes. The pipes had asbestos in them, so when the cable would push through the pipe and kick up asbestos dust, Kris Penny breathed it in unknowingly.
It is not just contractors and construction workers, however who have to keep on the lookout for “in place” asbestos. With the popularity of DIY home renovation shows, many homeowners now also have to maintain asbestos awareness. That awareness, unfortunately, has been shown to have stagnated and even decreased, at least in Australia.
Therefore, whether you are a telecommunications worker dealing with existing pipes or a homeowner ripping through layers of old home materials, you want to keep an eye out for asbestos materials. The third wave of asbestos ensures that the asbestos threat will continue for many years to come.