Rust International Inc. employees exposed to asbestos
With operations in North American, Europe, and South America, the company is currently the leading environmental restoration firm in the world, and the largest provider of scaffolding and maintenance in the U.S. Rust International Inc. provides assistance to other businesses and governmental agencies to become more efficient, conform to environmental standards, build new facilities and maintain old ones, dispose of waste, and remediate environmental hazard sites. So far, the company has cleaned up over 10,000 contaminated sites, including one-third of the commercial Superfund projects and 4,350 radioactive waste sites. Rust International Inc. also has contracts with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Since 1961, the company has been putting up facilities and offering consulting support services to NASA.
Despite the extraordinary achievements of the company, it remains culpable of having exposed workers to asbestos between the 1920s and the 1980s and also to other hazardous agents since it specializes in cleaning up waste sites. Furthermore, Rust International Inc. provided asbestos abatement services, which greatly endangered the health of employees since they were in charge of removing products containing the toxic mineral from various buildings and surfaces. The following are the occupational groups that the company most likely exposed to asbestos during the last century, directly or indirectly:
One way construction workers would be exposed to asbestos was from the materials in which the mineral was lurking, such as paint, spackling, roof shingles, masonry compounds, and drywall. When these employees would disturb the construction products by cutting, sawing, drilling, or sanding, they would inevitably release asbestos fibers in the air they would subsequently inhale, slowly increasing their risk of developing a serious disease. Alarmingly, current laws allow construction businesses to use certain asbestos products that meet the government guidelines, such as roofing felt and coatings, millboard, vinyl floor tiles, pipeline wrap, cement sheets, shingles, and pipes.
Demolition workers were equally at risk of severe asbestos exposure, as nearly all of the buildings they had to tear down were put up with asbestos materials. When construction products age and their condition deteriorates because of weathering and wear and tear, they are more likely to release carcinogenic fibers in the air. During the last century, construction workers would not wear protective equipment against inhaling asbestos, so they would be heavily exposed to it. As for paper mill workers, they would mostly come in contact with asbestos from dryer felts, gaskets, and insulation. They were also exposed to the dangerous mineral when maintaining equipment that contained asbestos, as pulping, paper making, and boiler operations entailed extreme heat, and asbestos was necessary to insulate various components.