Where Was Asbestos on The Railroad in the U.S., and Why Should You Be Concerned?

by | May 24, 2022 | Law


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Where was asbestos on the railroad? Unfortunately, if you or a loved one had worked for the railroad in the U.S., exposure to asbestos could have come from a variety of products. Asbestos was a valuable design for these parts due to its natural heat resistance, and that has had a devastating effect on the health of former workers.

Asbestos in Steam Locomotives

When looking at the railroad asbestos found in steam locomotives, a significant amount could be found in boilers and fireboxes. These include parts, insulation, and furnace cement. Many of the fireboxes also had firebricks that contained asbestos.

Brakes, Clutches, and Gaskets

In 1984, Norfolk Southern Railway produced a document stating their inventory featured 4,473 brake shoes containing asbestos. For gaskets, that number was even higher, with 28,035 parts. The same inventory mentioned undisclosed numbers of asbestos parts in the clutches, brake pads, and brake linings.

Other Instances of Asbestos in the Railroad

Asbestos was common in almost every aspect of the railroad industry for decades. A few common examples of parts that relied upon asbestos include:

  • Ceiling tiles
  • Cement ties
  • Disposable ashtrays
  • Insulation
  • Paint
  • Plaster
  • Railroad tracks
  • Rope

Asbestos as a Hazard

Asbestos had been defined as a potentially hazardous product by 1937, and they were aware that it could cause cancer by 1958. Railroads continued to use the product because it was cheap. Mesothelioma is the most common cancer associated with asbestos, but exposure has also resulted in the lung, laryngeal, and ovarian cancer.

Diesel Injury Law specializes in protecting workers who have lung conditions due to their work environment, and they can be contacted today.