Asbestos has been used as rope packing because it is lightweight and an effective fire-resistant insulator. Ship builders and naval workers use rope packing around valves, pumps, and boiler doors, all of which can reach high temperatures. Even though asbestos has been used in the past in numerous industries, it has been proven that individuals working in shipbuilding and naval work have had more illnesses due asbestos exposure. However, the contaminated rope packing was also used in the food industry on such machines as mixers and agitators, exposing those workers as well.
Being constantly exposed to this toxic substance can be harmful to the worker and his or her family. In the past, there were no rules regulating asbestos safety. When employees were continuously exposed to asbestos rope packing, their clothing could become covered with asbestos fibers. Once the workers’ day was over, they carried these fibers home to their family, inadvertently exposing their family members to the dangers of asbestos.
Serious health issues can arise as the direct result of prolonged rope-packing exposure. Lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis have been linked to this dangerous substance. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that has become ubiquitous among people who have worked with asbestos rope packing. Most of the time, the onset of symptoms go unnoticed for about 20 to 50 years. The illness slowly affects the lining of the lungs.
The dangers of asbestos exposure have been known since the 1900s, though the mineral continued to be used in rope packing until the later decades of the 20th century. The government and industrial corporations failed to take any preventative actions until many years later. As a direct result of some corporations’ negligence, many people have suffered the consequences of asbestos exposure.