Masonry Workers Masons are professionals responsible for building structures from brick, stone, and concrete. The mason profession is timeless, with masons being responsible for the construction of the Colosseum in Rome, the great pyramids in Egypt, the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, and numerous other historical and ancient famous structures. Today, these individuals are hired to build offices, homes, and other structures that are an essential aspect of daily life. The most commonly used materials that masons utilized daily include substances such as concrete blocks and clay brick. It is widely believed that brick is the oldest of products manufactured by man, as it was used for construction as long as 6,000 years ago. The use of concrete blocks is more recent because the material is made from sand, crushed stones, and cement. Other materials that were used by masons include adhesives and mortars, along with numerous products utilized in order to add structural integrity to designs.
Asbestos and Masonry Because construction materials such as bricks were required to last and remain sturdy for long periods of time, concrete manufacturers and brick makers often looked for ways to add durability to the materials. For the majority of the 20th century, asbestos was commonly used in order to accomplish this. Chrysotile asbestos was commonly used in concrete and bricks before the 1970s. It was also found in mortar mixes in order to make the product more durable and long-lasting. Individuals who have worked with the above products most likely underwent asbestos exposure at some point while they were working, particularly when they were grinding, sawing, or manipulating the items used in masonry. The disturbing of these materials can allow the dust to become airborne and, consequently, inhaled. Because of this danger, masons and other construction workers are the most likely to be diagnosed with respiratory conditions and cancers such as mesothelioma, a rare yet serious and aggressive cancer caused by asbestos exposure. The cause of mesothelioma has been linked to airborne fibers of asbestos that are inhaled and then become lodged within the lining of the organs of the body, known as the mesothelium. This has been known to occur in several different organs, including the heart, abdomen, and the lungs. The mesothelioma can remain latent for up to five decades and does not usually respond well to treatment.