Asbestos may be a known human carcinogen, but it is also a cheap resource that is an effective insulator and fire retardant. Companies have continued to use asbestos for decades after its potential health risks became well-known.
Professionals ranging from those who serviced Navy ships to manufacturing specialists may have handled asbestos during their careers. These individuals will have an elevated risk of developing asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma and lung cancer.
Workers aware of their exposure on the job know that they need to screen themselves for signs of asbestos-related illnesses for the rest of their lives. After all, such cancers can take decades to develop after exposure to asbestos. Their close family members could also require more careful medical observation because of the possibility of secondary asbestos exposure.
How does secondhand exposure occur?
Many businesses that use asbestos have, historically, not implemented adequate safeguarding. From coveralls to decontamination showers, there are many safety measures employers can implement to reduce the risk of their workers taking asbestos home with them.
However, many companies have not consistently provided such services, and workers may have failed to make use of the protections available to them. Family members and roommates of those who work with asbestos could inhale particulate asbestos off of someone’s skin, hair or clothing. A worker could also deposit small amounts of asbestos onto furniture, carpet or articles of clothing.
Even the lower level of exposure that occurs in such cases could be enough for some people to develop cancer. Understanding the connection between a loved one’s employment and your mesothelioma diagnosis could help you get compensation for your medical condition.