Recently, the widow of a New York City electrician who died 18 months after being diagnosed with the asbestos cancer mesothelioma received a substantial settlement from her husband’s mesothelioma lawsuit.
The lawsuit was filed against the manufacturers of the asbestos-made materials he worked with and that led to his death at the age of 67.
During his depositions, he talked about the colorful New York locations his assignments took him to and the deplorable working conditions he and other tradesmen encountered.
An electrical apprentice in the 1960s, he described occupational health dangers at job sites that included: 40 Wall Street, La Guardia and JFK airports, the New York World’s Fair, the former Pan Am building (now MetLife), and several landmark Manhattan hotels, including the Roosevelt, the Barkley and the Biltmore.
Describes asbestos dangers on every flank
Even today, electricians are vulnerable to asbestos exposure because of its omnipresence in commercial buildings constructed before 1980. Electricians’ skills were sometimes even required near boilers, motors, turbines, and generators – all of which contain asbestos in their housings or outside insulations.
“My work assignments would take me into a boiler room where the trades would be actively installing asbestos materials,” he said of his 1963 job on Wall Street and at La Guardia Airport. “I had to work in close proximity to the other trades doing installations, and I was exposed at that point to the asbestos that I now know was part of their installation.”
All through the 20th century, asbestos was used in buildings as an insulator against fire, heat, and electricity. Since asbestos does not conduct electricity, electricians often ran wires through pipes and conduits manufactured with, or wrapped in, asbestos.
He worked simultaneously at La Guardia Airport (when new turbines were being installed), and at the New York World’s Fair (where he handled conduit and wire for installation at the fair’s Hollywood Pavilion).
Later, during renovation work at the former Pan Am building, 200 Park Avenue, he confirmed in his testimony that the work of other tradesmen exposed him to asbestos insulation materials. “Besides electrical conduit and wire, there was also a need to install plumbing conduits, steamfitting conduits, and duct work on the floors.”
Sadly, he succumbed to asbestos-related mesothelioma one year after giving his deposition to the defendants’ lawyers, but valiantly succeeded in protecting his family’s financial future by filing a mesothelioma lawsuit.
The job duties of electricians often take them to construction sites where buildings are being either renovated or newly constructed. Electricians may be there to upgrade existing electrical systems or to install new systems in new buildings.
Whether electricians are part of a renovation project or a construction team, they work side by side with other tradesmen whose activities are known to release deadly asbestos fibers into the air. Plumbers, carpenters, steamfitters, floor and ceiling tile contractors and HVAC contractors all fall into this asbestos jobs category.
Work-related asbestos diseases
Lung inhalation of airborne asbestos fibers is the most common avenue for contracting asbestos diseases. Medical and legal authorities now recognize a direct link between working around asbestos-made construction materials and deadly asbestos-related diseases like lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma.
From 1990 to 1999, for example, the most frequently listed industry cited on U.S. death certificates of asbestosis victims was the construction industry (24 percent). Yet despite the fatal health consequences associated with asbestos exposure, asbestos is still imported and used in the United States as insulation material in the construction and automotive industries. The United States imported and used an estimated 1,820 tons of asbestos in 2007, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
About Weitz & Luxenberg Mesothelioma Lawyers
Weitz & Luxenberg is a leading U.S. mesothelioma law firm headquartered in New York City. Weitz & Luxenberg mesothelioma lawyers have won millions of dollars for people suffering from asbestos cancers such as lung cancer and mesothelioma. Many of these people are retired workers such as construction workers, plumbers, sheet metal workers and welders. For a free, online case review, visit www.weitzlux.com.