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Important Facts About Asbestos Exposure for Bakers and Pastry Chefs
- Asbestos was used as a fireproofing agent in baking ovens since they get so hot. They were built with asbestos lining the inside of the ovens.
- Exposure to asbestos is the only cause of mesothelioma, which is a rare and deadly type of cancer.
- There are a handful of reported cases of mesothelioma among bakers and pastry chefs.
How Asbestos Causes Mesothelioma
Asbestos is a durable mineral capable of preserving different machinery parts, elements of buildings and more. It also was fire-resistant, which made it the perfect material to incorporate into industrial ovens, stoves and other heating elements.
The mineral is made up of tiny microscopic fibers sewn together. If the fibers splinter and break apart, they are weightless and will float in the air. Asbestos fibers are nearly invisible and can unknowingly be inhaled or swallowed.
If asbestos enters the body, the sharp fibers can lodge into cells along the linings of the lungs, abdomen and heart. The cells become irritated, causing mutation and the formation of mesothelioma tumors.
Mesothelioma is a rare disease affecting approximately 3,000 Americans each year. This cancer is often linked to occupational asbestos exposure, meaning people who worked in specific trades (such as construction or insulation jobs) were more susceptible to exposure. Veterans of the U.S. military, or spouses and children exposed in a second-hand manner are also at risk.
History of Asbestos and Mesothelioma
For most of the 20th century, the general public didn’t know anything about the dangers of asbestos or mesothelioma. However, many asbestos manufacturers and companies using the material did know the risks but continued on anyway.
Asbestos was relied on in many American commercial industries for most of the 20th century. In the 1970s, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration revealed how dangerous asbestos was. Later, the agency implemented restrictions on the use of the mineral in commercial trades.
The U.S. government has since limited the use of asbestos, and some lawmakers have tried banning the substance entirely. Despite these efforts, the hazardous material remains prevalent in America as a legacy ingredient in old houses, office buildings and restaurants.
Bakers and pastry chefs aren’t often considered when thinking of at risk occupations for asbestos exposure and mesothelioma. However, anyone who worked as a baker or chef likely was at risk of exposure to the mineral.
How Bakers and Pastry Chefs Were Exposed to Asbestos
Asbestos was used as a fireproof lining since baking ovens often reach extremely high temperatures. By doing so, the mineral kept the flames within the oven and prevented heat damage to any parts.
Any person who worked near or with the ovens could’ve been exposed. Additionally, fibers could’ve fallen onto the bread while it was baking. Anyone who sold the cooked product also may have been exposed to asbestos.
Asbestos is often found in older bread-baking ovens. This is considered “legacy asbestos,” or any asbestos still existing from its original installation in the 20th century. Most asbestos exposure happening today is due to legacy asbestos. Pastry chefs and bakers are at risk of legacy asbestos exposure since any baking ovens from the 1980s or earlier may contain asbestos as a fireproofing agent.
Statistics on Bakers, Pastry Chefs and Mesothelioma
Since asbestos exposure is possible for bakers and pastry chefs, the development of mesothelioma cancer is also a risk. There are just 2,500 cases of mesothelioma diagnosed in the U.S. each year. The majority of them are associated with asbestos exposure through a person’s occupation or job, such as construction or electrical work. Pastry cooking and baking falls into this category.
According to a report in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, there are at least eight known cases of malignant pleural mesothelioma among bakers, pastry chefs and “biscuit cooks.” All of the cases involved a history of “engaged in making, baking/cooking, and selling pastry/bread.”
If you have mesothelioma and worked as a baker or pastry chef — or even sold a bread product — then your profession may have caused your disease. The people who manufactured and sold asbestos products knew the substance was dangerous. Despite this, they prioritized profits and continued producing the mineral as an insulant for baking ovens.
These companies are liable for your mesothelioma cancer – and the possibility of your life being cut short due to their greed. If you’re the loved one of a former baker or pastry chef who has mesothelioma or died of the cancer, you are also entitled to compensation. Our team can explain how you may qualify to file a mesothelioma lawsuit and get financial help from the court system.
If you’d like to speak with a medical expert about the link between baking ovens and mesothelioma, email our registered nurse Karen Ritter at email@example.com. She can answer any questions and help you find answers to your cancer.
Sources & Author
- Malignant pleural mesothelioma in bakers and pastry cooks. American Journal of Industrial Medicine. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11598986. Accessed: 10/08/19.