Welding in Illinois and throughout the country involves working around intense heat using a rod often coated with asbestos. The coating is supposed to keep the rod from getting damaged by fire. However, the asbestos coating can lead to mesothelioma in workers. Mesothelioma develops in miners more than any other profession.
Basics of mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a cancer that primarily forms in the lining of the lungs as well as the heart and abdomen. Common symptoms include shortness of breath, hoarseness, trouble swallowing, cough and chest pains. A person over 45 has a higher chance of developing mesothelioma.
Welders and asbestos risk
The risk of mesothelioma doesn’t come from the asbestos itself in welding but because the material seldom adheres to the tool. The rod converts the steel to liquid, which helps the welder combine two metal pieces. The welding process causes the fibers on the rod to come loose, and they can travel to the lung lining.
Studies by Georgetown University and Duke University attempted to measure the amount of risk a welder faces. The study revealed 43 cases of mesothelioma out of 1,445 occupation-related diagnoses, which is greater than the rate among the manufacturers of asbestos.
Trades that use welding rods
Many American industries use welding rods, especially if it requires joining metal pieces. Some of these industries include automotive, power plants, railroad and construction companies.
Several companies have faced litigation because of the link to asbestos-related illnesses. Lincoln Railroad had 56,000 claims filed against it starting in 1995. However, since it can take decades for the signs for mesothelioma to show, some welders may not be aware they have it.
Workers diagnosed with mesothelioma may be entitled to compensation. A lawyer may be able to help them navigate the case.