Many people wonder if they are, or have been, subject to the risks of asbestos exposure. Health hazards from asbestos dust have been recognized in workers exposed in shipyards, power generating stations, oil refineries, steel mills, paper mills, foundries, asbestos mining and milling, manufacturing of asbestos textiles and other asbestos products, insulation work in the construction and building trades, auto mechanics, and a variety of other trades. Demolition workers, drywallers, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, sprinkler fitters, ironworkers, and firefighters also may be exposed to asbestos dust. People whose work brings them into contact with asbestos workers who renovate buildings with asbestos in them, for example may inhale fibers that are in the air: this is called occupational exposure. Workers' families may inhale asbestos fibers released by clothes that have been in contact with ACM: this is called paraoccupational exposure. People who live or work near asbestos-related operations might inhale asbestos fibers that have been released into the air by the operations: this is called neighborhood exposure.
The amount of asbestos to which someone is exposed will vary, according to: The concentration of fibers in the air; The duration of exposure; The person's breathing rate (workers doing manual labor breathe faster); Weather conditions; and, Any protective devices the person might be wearing. Although it is known that the risk to workers increases with heavier exposure and longer exposure time, investigators have found asbestos-related diseases in individuals who had only brief exposures. Generally, workers who develop asbestos-related diseases show no signs of illness for a long time after their first exposure. It can take from 10 to 40 years for symptoms of an asbestos-related condition to appear. Because it can take so long for symptoms of an asbestosrelated condition to appear, our lawyers are often asked if there is still time to make a claim for an injury or illness caused by asbestos.