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Defective Masks and Respirators

Workers who wore masks and respirators they believed would prevent asbestos exposure have been diagnosed with asbestos cancers like mesothelioma and lung cancer. Design defects in these products mean that workers were inhaling dust from devices believed to protect them from asbestos exposure. Workers had a false sense of security, as the devices they thought were protecting them were actually exposing them to asbestos.

How Were Masks and Respirators Flawed for Preventing Asbestos Exposure?

The primary defect is that some respirators didn’t fit the face properly, allowing dust to leak in and be breathed by workers. The fit of the mask must seal tightly against the face to prevent exposure.  If the material the mask was made of did not mold properly to the face, or if the straps holding the mask in place were deficient, asbestos dust would leak into the areas next to the nose and the chin.

If there is enough asbestos in the air, even a good quality mask is not enough, in and of itself, to protect a worker from being exposed to asbestos. Today, workers removing asbestos wear a disposable suit and hood over their respirators. They also wear disposable gloves and shoe covers. At the end of the work day, the entire outfit is sprayed with water and the mask is left on until the entire outfit is sealed in asbestos waste containers. At that point, and only after all that has been done, the mask is removed.

 Who Manufactured Dust Masks and Respirators?

Companies that made dust masks and respirators include, but are not limited to:

  • American Optical Corporation;
  • Mine Safety Appliances;
  • 3M (Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company)

Who is At Risk?

Workers who may have been exposed to asbestos while wearing defective masks and respirators include:

  • Boiler and furnace technicians
  • Construction workers
  • Foundry workers
  • Naval veterans
  • Pipefitters
  • Mechanics
  • Miners
  • Railroad workers
  • Shipyard workers

What Can You Do If You Develop Mesothelioma After Wearing a Defective Mask?

Thornton Law Firm has represented workers in mesothelioma and asbestos claims, including claims for cancers caused by defective masks and respirators, since 1978. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related disease, call Attorney Andrew Wainwright on our toll-free number 888-632-0108 or tell us your story here. We are New England’s leading mesothelioma law firm. All consultations are free and completely confidential.