Historically, the U.S. construction industry was one of the biggest consumers of asbestos materials. Asbestos materials were used in the construction of all types of buildings, including homes and schools. Tiles used in floors and ceilings were made from asbestos, so older schools and factories may still contain asbestos products. One of the most common construction uses for asbestos was in manufacturing drop or suspended ceiling tiles, also known as T-bar ceiling tiles for the metal grid that held the tiles in place.
The drop ceiling was very popular between 1950 an 1970 because the tiles could be moved easily instead of being permanently affixed to the ceiling. These tiles were sometimes made with asbestos fiber. The lightweight tiles were posed a threat because they were so easily moved or damaged, releasing the asbestos into the air. These T-bar tiles are still present in many public and private buildings. After being in place for decades, these tiles become damaged and can release asbestos into the air. Extreme caution should be taken to remove asbestos from any structure. Only asbestos professional wearing protective gear should be near the asbestos.
Construction workers have a very high rate of mesothelioma, which can be caused by asbestos. Ever year anywhere from 2000 to 3000 Americans die of asbestos cancer. Many of these people are or were employed in construction. After years of extensive research into companies’ asbestos practices, it has been shown that many companies were well aware of the threat asbestos posed and still chose to continue the use and manufacture of products containing asbestos without informing workers or consumers of the risk. Many lives could have been spared if this knowledge had been shared with employees and consumers. Many people who were victimized by these companies are choosing to take action after being diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos related disease.