Painters and Mesothelioma

Painters and Mesothelioma

If you're looking for the best Painters and Mesothelioma compensation Attorney, look no further. Meso Advisor will work hard to get the maximum compensation for you and your family. Painters are tradespeople involved in applying pigmented liquids that dry to a durable film over various surfaces (these liquids protect from sun, wind, water, dirt, or indoor and outdoor pollutants; they also enhance the appearance of the surfaces to which they are applied).

Structures painters work on include:

  • homes
  • offices
  • schools
  • hospitals
  • factories
  • and bridges.

The nearly 400,000 people are currently drawing a paycheck as construction or maintenance painters work with many types of materials. However, some of the materials made between the 1940s and the 1970s posed a health risk to painters. The materials giving rise to this risk had one thing in common. They all contain the carcinogenic mineral asbestos, which can cause diseases like:

  • mesothelioma
  • asbestos lung cancer
  • and asbestosis.

The list of mid-20th Century materials containing asbestos is long.

The Problem with Asbestos

The significant problem with asbestos is that it can become disturbed very quickly, and when that happens, tiny pieces break off and then get into the air. These small pieces (too small to be seen with the naked eye) can then be breathed in or inhaled accidentally by the painter. Once asbestos enters the body, mesothelioma and other diseases can appear. The good news is that materials makers stopped putting asbestos into their products in the 1970s after a public outcry about the dangers of the mineral.

The bad news is that it was not until the 1980s that most inventories of materials containing asbestos were fully depleted and no longer available on the market. Even so, asbestos materials can, to this very day, be encountered by painters if they work in structures built pre-1980s. When remodeling old homes, painters can experience exposure to asbestos in many ways. One way is removing old paint. Fortunately, if an asbestos disease develops after exposure, medical help is available. You must know there is also legal help. If you're one of the many painters and mesothelioma has impacted your life, we can help.

Who Qualifies As A Painter?

A painter prepares surfaces and applies one or more sealer, primer, paint, stain, or varnish coats. Painters don't need to be certified or licensed, and painting can either be a hobby or a fully paying job. Tasks typically undertaken by painters include:

  • Installing scaffolding
  • Protecting surfaces by laying drop cloths, tarps, and masking tape
  • Unscrewing or prying off covers from electric outlets and switches
  • Applying putty or plaster to fill holes and cracks in surfaces before painting
  • Scraping, wire brushing, or sanding surfaces
  • Brushing, rolling or spraying paints onto prepared surfaces
  • Cleaning up dried blobs of paint from tools and work areas

Painters and Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos was in many products a painter might use or come into contact with on the job. Among these products were:

  • Paint
  • Sealer
  • Primer
  • Stain
  • Varnish
  • Spackle
  • Joint compound
  • Plaster

Adding asbestos to paint, stain, and other liquid coatings helped thicken the product. Having asbestos thicken the paint improved how easily and smoothly it laid down when applied to a surface. Asbestos gave the product better texture, brighter color, durability, and greater resistance to fading or peeling with age. Asbestos also helps coats dry faster. Further, these coatings allowed the walls and ceilings to which they were applied to stay cool when the weather turned hot and warm when the outside temperatures dropped.

What Happens When Painters Inhale Asbestos?

Asbestos became a health risk to painters, not so much while the paint was wet but when it was dry and being worked on or painted over.  Wet asbestos paint posed a scant risk to health because asbestos molecules were so tightly bonded to the paint's chemical composition that they could not break free. However, the problems started after the paint drying was complete. The asbestos particles were tightly bound to the paint whenever the paint was wet and wouldn't flake off or cause any issues. However, dry paint could break free from the canvas, freeing the asbestos.
Asbestos was quickly freed by sanding it when painting another layer or when older paint was scraped off. Additionally, dried asbestos paint could be carried from the job site to the studio whenever the dried paint fell on a tarp or cloth. Folding and moving this tarp around could crack the paint blobs, releasing the asbestos fibers. Additionally, leaving the asbestos-laced pain on brushed and pans posed a risk of exposure to the painter.

Asbestos entering a painter's body during inhalation usually becomes permanently embedded within the lungs (or intestines). In some cases, these trapped asbestos particles caused radical changes in the composition and functioning of healthy cells. Radical changes such as:

  • mesothelioma
  • asbestos lung cancer
  • asbestosis
  • or other asbestos-related diseases.

Painters And Asbestos Exposure From Building Materials

Many types of building materials contained asbestos before it fell into wide disuse beginning in the 1970s. Painters sometimes worked with these materials and were in proximity to them.
These non-painter building materials include:

  • Drywall
  • Insulation
  • Ceiling and floor tiles
  • Roofing systems
  • Electrical systems
  • Pipes
  • Boilers and furnaces
  • Bricks and mortar

Between the 1940s and 1970s, manufacturers of these products added asbestos to make them lighter and more robust. Asbestos also made them better able to absorb noise, insulate against extreme heat and cold, and prevent or inhibit the spread of fire. However, these building materials were disturbed by cutting, hammering, drilling, sanding, and even by simply bumping them too hard during construction. The disturbing was enough to send asbestos everywhere, and then they could penetrate and lock into the painter's lungs or abdomen.

Then changes would begin to the cells as the strands start to overcome the healthy cells and turn them into cancerous ones, which will then turn into asbestos-related diseases after a long period of time, sometimes decades after the initial exposure.

Painters and Asbestos Exposure from Power Tools

Power tools loom large in the painter's craft today, just as it was a half-century ago. Then as now, painters used electrically operated drills, screwdrivers, sanders, and compressors. Power tools made between 1940 and 1970 contained asbestos inside their motor housings to keep heat from causing burns or damaging the instrument. As painters used these asbestos-laced tools were operated, some of the asbestos inside was able to break free. A portion of that freed asbestos immediately found its way into the air. The remainder stayed inside the tool until it needed repairs.

Power tools could also release asbestos by contacting materials or structural elements carrying one or more coats of dried asbestos paint. For example, if an overhead fan needed removal to permit repainting of the ceiling, the removal process would cause asbestos to release into the air. A power screwdriver could do this. However, the torque generated by the tool could be of sufficient intensity to disturb asbestos within the old paint as the screws were taken out, thereby causing the old paint to break free and begin floating in the air.

Painters and Asbestos Exposure From Working Alongside Other Trades

Of course, painters need something to paint, and that's where other teams come in. Electricians, plumbers, bricklayers, and others will create things that the painters will come in and paint on, but that does pose a small problem. Each of these trades has to deal with asbestos-related materials, and those particles are still in the air.

If the painters are already using asbestos-lined paint and potentially inhaling particles, they could also be inhaling the fumes from the other jobs done within the job site. Take drywall, for example. A painter could begin work two days after the drywall crew finished cutting and installing sheetrock, applying the joint tape, laying down mud, and sanding it to a smooth finish. By the end of the drywalling process, the volume of asbestos particles in the air could be considerable. And those particles would still be there when the painter showed up to begin work 48 hours later.

Unfortunately, the painter in this scenario might not have realized asbestos was being inhaled (or ingested). Asbestos particles are difficult to see because they are so tiny. Thus, the entire time the painter worked on this project, a double-dose of asbestos was penetrating and loading up within vital bodily organs—asbestos from the paint and drywalling.

There would be a chance that this airborne exposure to asbestos particles might produce a disease such as:

  • mesothelioma
  • asbestos lung cancer
  • or asbestosis.

However, the painter in this illustration will not immediately make the connection between exposure to asbestos and disease onset because asbestos diseases have extraordinarily long latency periods (the condition usually does not develop until years or even decades have passed). This only worsens the problem, and lowers the survivability rate.

Painters and Mesothelioma

When asbestos is broken free, the asbestos in the air can stay in the air for quite a long time before it goes down to the ground, and even then, the simplest of drafts can kick everything up again. Once the asbestos is in the air, painters can inhale or ingest these fibers, then travel down into the rest of the body.

Then, after several years, the asbestos fibers tend to corrupt the healthy cells and ruin all the health in the lining of the lungs or stomach. Instead of self-destructing like cells are supposed to, they aren't able to self-destruct due to the use of the asbestos and then live on as disease-ridden cells or asbestos-related cancers.

Painters' Rights to Compensation After Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos can cause:

  • mesothelioma
  • Asbestos lung cancer
  • asbestosis
  • and other problems.

If you are a painter or have a loved one experiencing asbestos exposure symptoms, then you may be able to get compensation for the harm done to you.

The money you receive could help you:

  • Pay your medical bills and treatment costs
  • Ensure you receive compensation for lost wages due to your injury
    and significantly reduce the emotional stress the diagnosis has caused you.

You can obtain compensation for asbestos-related diseases by suing the companies responsible for exposing painters to asbestos. Such companies could include the makers, distributors, and retailers of asbestos paints and related products. Since most companies don't want to face their asbestos-related crimes in a court of law, many companies end up settling out of court using a compensation fund for this very thing. Contact our office today to learn about your claim.

Do You Have A Claim?

If your health has been affected by exposure to asbestos, report it here.
Our expert partner attorneys offer free consultations for your claim.


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