Living with Asbestosis
April of 1997 I had bypass operation on my heart, and every few months I had tests on the heart to determine why I was experiencing a shortage of breath whenever I exerted myself, and in 2001 Asbestosis may be the cause I was informed. What a shock.
I was officially diagnosed with asbestosis in 2004 after a series of tests on my heart showed it was not causing the shortage of breath that I was having, and that asbestosis was likely the cause. I was sent to a lung specialist and after an Xray, pulmonory, and CT scan it was determined that asbestosis was the culprit, and likely a compensatory case with WCB.
Being a member of UA local 170, I went about finding what to do regarding WCB. As many cases were showing up they had appointed one of the business agents to look after the members who where being diagnosed with asbestos related problems.
With help from the union I was able to submit a claim that, after some consultations between them and my doctors, it was determined that about 26 to 33% of both lobes of my lungs were infected. I have tests done every two years to see if there are any changes, fortunately there has only been a slight worsening and I still remain free of cancer.
When I started my trade it was in 1952 and then we would open full 50lb bags of asbestos, dump it into a pail and mix with water so we could trowel it on boilers as insulation, and would be covered in a grey film. No one mentioned that it was dangerous even though they knew of the problems it caused. To think that it took some 52 years before it showed up in me. I am glad that it is no longer in use in Canada.