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Railroad workers: know your risk for asbestos-related illnesses

The risks associated with asbestos exposure have been know for many years now. In response to these risks, federal and state agencies have put in place numerous regulations intended to protect people from toxic exposure, and many companies have strict guidelines in place for handling and disposing of asbestos-containing materials.

Sadly, chances are that the damage caused by asbestos has already been done if you or a loved one was a railroad worker. In fact, the damage was likely done decades ago and you may only now be starting to see symptoms of illnesses like mesothelioma.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, railroad workers are among those who were disproportionately exposed to asbestos due to their occupation. Asbestos was commonly used in:

  • Locomotive brake pads and linings
  • Cement ties
  • Gaskets
  • Floor tiles inside passenger trains
  • Insulation

Whether a person worked as an engineer, operator or in maintenance, there was a very real risk that he or she was exposed to asbestos, particularly if they worked in those roles before or during the 1970s.

Asbestos exposure can lead to serious illnesses like mesothelioma or asbestosis, both of which take a long time to start showing symptoms and can be difficult to diagnose. Because of this, many people learn they have an asbestos-related disease once it's already quite advanced.

At this point, it can be crucial that workers and their families get the support and care they need. This can involve compensation through the Federal Employers Liability Act and/or third party lawsuits against the parties who designed, manufactured or sold products containing asbestos.

Of course, the money available through these claims will not undo the damage that has been done or replace a loved one who has passed away. It can, however, provide people with the resources they need to secure treatment and rebuild their lives.

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