Based out of Cleveland, Ohio, the Lincoln Electric company has been a pioneer in the development and design of a variety of welding products. Their main focus has been on arc welding, robotic welding apparatus and plasma or oxygen fueled cutting systems. Today, the business is very proud of its international relations with companies in over 20 different countries. Lincoln Electric employs over 9,000 people worldwide and remains one of the predominant companies in the industry.
The business was founded in 1895 by a man who created electric motors. World War II was a time that the outfit garnered many contracts from the US Military, which allowed it to increase profits. After the war the business would expand and invest its profits into a new business model. During this time period, however, not everything that happened was good. Though unknown at the time, the production operations were heavily reliant on a material that would later make many employees sick.
Asbestos, a material that is easy to mine and readily abundant across the US was commonly used. In modern times, the material is recognized as a dangerous carcinogen that has been known to cause certain types of cancer. One type is mesothelioma, a rare and particularly deadly disease. Luckily, most workers who were exposed won’t develop the cancer. Those that do, however, suffer many negative consequences. The most important to note is a severe decrease in life expectancy. One of the main problems with this industry is that many workers simply aren’t even aware that they worked around asbestos.
Asbestos is great for being heat resistant and fire retardant, making it an ideal choice for protective gear when its dangers were unknown. As workers inhaled the dust from the material, they were also increasing their risk of developing mesothelioma or other asbestos related diseases.
Mesothelioma can’t be cured, but life expectancy can be increased with an early detection. Treatments can be administered to help as well. As the many manufacturing industries in America grew during the last century, so did the widespread use of asbestos. Workers in many careers were exposed to the material on a daily basis; some even carried dust home on them that would be breathed in by loved ones. Fortunately, we now know how to handle and deal with asbestos containing materials.