Second Hand Asbestos Exposure

The number one leading cause of mesothelioma is occupational primary asbestos exposure. However, even those who do not directly interact with asbestos at the workplace can fall victim to asbestos exposure. Second hand asbestos exposure usually happens when a worker brings home asbestos fibers. Since there is no safe level of any form of asbestos exposure, bringing home asbestos fibers on one’s clothes, hair, or even skin inevitably puts everyone in that home at risk of asbestos-related health issues such as mesothelioma.

Primary asbestos exposure was common in the 20th century. During that time, men were at a greater risk of falling victim to primary asbestos exposure because they were employed in labor jobs such as construction jobs that used asbestos products. Second hand asbestos exposure, on the other hand, was more prevalent among women and children. It was common for men who worked with asbestos to unknowingly bring asbestos to their homes on their tools, skin, hair, shoes, and even clothes. Unfortunately, even today, people are still at risk of second hand asbestos exposure because asbestos is still in many American buildings and products. Today, a construction worker can, for instance, bring asbestos fibers home after renovating or demolishing an asbestos-contaminated house.

Second hand asbestos exposure is a type of non-occupational asbestos exposure. Second hand asbestos exposure is also called secondary, para-occupational, or take-home exposure. Repeated second hand asbestos exposure can be just as risky as primary asbestos exposure. Therefore, it is incorrect for anyone to assume that people who have not worked with asbestos cannot get mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. Being repeatedly exposed to asbestos fibers by a worker who brings home asbestos fibers can cause asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma.

Apart from construction, families of people who worked/work in, among others, the following industries may be especially vulnerable to secondhand asbestos exposure.

  • Oil and gas
  • Plumbing
  • Railway/Subway
  • Shipbuilding or shipping
  • Textile manufacturing
  • Aerospace

Preventing Second Hand Asbestos Exposure

One of the most efficient and simplest ways of preventing second hand asbestos exposure is for people who work with asbestos or asbestos-contaminated products to comply with decontamination protocols. Usually, workers bring home asbestos fibers when they fail to follow proper decontamination practices. Some measures workers can take to prevent secondary asbestos exposure include;

  • Wearing personal protective equipment
  • Removing personal protective equipment before leaving work
  • Showering
  • Cleaning or getting rid of asbestos-contaminated equipment

Unfortunately, even though the above and many other protocols may be standard in most American companies today, that was not always the case. People can still get mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases even if secondhand exposure happened many years ago. Unfortunately, because many people do not realize when they are exposed to asbestos in this manner, a mesothelioma diagnosis can be shocking to a person who was a victim of second hand asbestos exposure. Nonetheless, because second hand asbestos exposure can have devastating effects on patients and their loved ones, victims of second hand asbestos exposure and their loved ones can take legal action after related diagnosis or death.

Nationwide Mesothelioma Lawyers

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced nationwide mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment.


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