How Former Farmers and Agricultural Workers May be at Risk for Asbestos-Related Diseases

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Mesothelioma & Asbestos Published on May 26, 2021 and updated on March 15, 2022.

harvester with driver insideMost people do not think about farming and agricultural work when they think about exposure to asbestos. They often think about shipbuilding or factory work or other high-risk occupations.

However, machinery and equipment that is currently being used for farming may have parts that contain asbestos. That means current and former agricultural workers may be at risk for breathing in asbestos fibers and developing asbestos-related diseases.

Below, the experienced Maryland mesothelioma lawyers at The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl discuss asbestos exposure risks for agricultural workers. If you currently or used to work in the agricultural industry, it is important to learn about the risks in case you develop potential symptoms of an asbestos-related disease. You can also take steps to try to protect yourself from asbestos-containing products.

High-Risk Agriculture Industry Jobs

There are numerous jobs in the agricultural industry that put workers at risk for asbestos exposure. These include but are not limited to:

  • Mechanic for agriculture equipment
  • Rancher
  • Dairy farmer
  • Vegetable farmer
  • Sharecropper
  • Farmhand
  • Equipment operator
  • Poultry farmer
  • Sheep farmer
  • Cattle farmer
  • Agricultural managers
  • Grounds maintenance workers
  • Veterinary assistants
  • Laboratory animal caretakers

How Asbestos Exposure May Occur

There are a variety of ways agricultural workers could be exposed to asbestos. For example, it could happen when they work with the following products:

  • Agricultural filler
  • Pesticides
  • Animal feed
  • Potting mix
  • Root cuttings
  • Clutches
  • Seals
  • Brake pads
  • Paint
  • Floor tiles
  • Insulation
  • Piping
  • Siding
  • Roofing
  • Asbestos cement
  • Gaskets
  • Valves
  • Brakes
  • Brake pads
  • Asbestos cement
  • Sowing composts
  • Seed germination
  • Soil conditioner
  • Fertilizer
  • Wallboards
  • Sealants
  • Hood liners
  • Under spray

Some of these materials are found in agricultural machinery, like tractors, plows or machinery for spraying pesticide or fertilizer. Materials like fertilizer, floorboards and potting soil often contain vermiculite, which may be contaminated with asbestos. Even if the farm where someone works no longer uses vermiculite, it may still be in the soil from past use.

Workers could be exposed to asbestos by performing various tasks, such as:

  • Feeding animals
  • Cleaning animal cages
  • Inspecting crops
  • Herding livestock
  • Replacing machinery
  • Operating machinery
  • Repairing pipes, pumps or ditches
  • Irrigating soil

Reducing Your Risk of Exposure to Asbestos

There are practical steps workers can take to help lower their risk of exposure to asbestos. For example, if you work with materials that may contain asbestos, make sure to wear a facemask and disposable clothing.

Bristle brooms could spread asbestos fibers around a work site, which means you should avoid using this type of broom. Hand tools may be preferable to power tools and they are less likely to disturb asbestos fibers into the air.

Employers need to follow state laws related to safely removing or containing asbestos. They may also have a legal obligation to test the soil for asbestos and work to identify asbestos in older buildings or machinery. The American Lung Association recommends hiring certified asbestos professionals to collect samples to determine if asbestos may be present.

Proving proper training and safety equipment may also be required under the law. Failing to take these mitigation measures may expose employers to liability for workers who develop asbestos-related diseases.

Need Legal Assistance? Call to See How we Can Help

Our experienced attorneys have obtained compensation for asbestos victims from some of the largest corporate employers in the nation. We have extensive knowledge of how asbestos was used in a variety of industries and how to link asbestos exposure to the workplace.

Schedule a free consultation today to learn more about how we may be able to assist you. There are no upfront fees for our services, and we are not paid unless you are paid.

No Upfront Fees. No Risks. Call for legal help: 410-907-3957.