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Secondhand asbestos exposure: Who is at risk?

Most people have a mental list of people they think of as being at risk for developing mesothelioma or pleural lung disease from asbsestos exposure: Plumbers, factory workers and construction workers. There is a hidden group many people do not know about. People who have never been directly exposed to asbestos are getting sick through secondhand exposure. Could you be at risk?

What is secondhand exposure to asbestos

Secondhand asbestos exposure refers to any form of ingestion where the individual may not have come into contact directly with materials or products containing asbestos, but instead ingested after coming into contact with someone or something carrying asbestos fibers.

Who was exposed?

This form of secondary exposure came to light when spouses and sometimes children of workers who handled asbestos developed mesothelioma. Often the spouses inhaled asbestos fibers while washing the clothing of workers. Children were also affected when they hugged or snuggled with a parent who wore clothing that contained asbestos fibers on it.

Another form of secondhand exposure, known as bystander exposure, was discovered when factory workers who did not work directly with asbestos, but were in proximity to those that did, developed mesothelioma.

A larger group of bystanders are the people who handled asbestos products, such as people in the construction industry and auto workers such as mechanics.

What can people do who are diagnosed with mesothelioma?

People who are diagnosed with mesothelioma are often stunned because they may not have known they came into contact with asbestos. The challenge of finding the source of exposure is heightened because mesothelioma is a very aggressive form of cancer. Fortunately, there are attorneys who have handled many of these types of claims and are good at helping to identify the source of the original source.

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