The risk of exposure to asbestos fibers is often associated with individuals who worked with or around products that contained asbestos. However, people who come in contact with workers who are exposed to asbestos fibers are also at risk of the dangers of asbestos. These dangers include the development of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cancers.
Why is Asbestos Dangerous?
Asbestos was used in many products up until the 1980’s, when the dangers of it were universally recognized. Asbestos becomes dangerous when it is disturbed and releases microscopic fibers into the air. Once these fibers are released into the air, they can be breathed in and may remain in the lungs. The effects of asbestos fiber exposure may not become apparent for many years or even decades.
How Second-hand Asbestos Exposure Occurs
Second-hand asbestos exposure involves exposure to the asbestos fibers without actually working with the material that contains asbestos. The victims of second-hand exposure are often family members of individuals returning home from work after encountering asbestos as a result of their employment. These workers are unaware that they may be carrying fibers that could be dangerous to their families.
After arriving home from work, anyone else living at the house can sustain considerable exposure to asbestos fibers. Washing the clothing worn by the person who works with asbestos poses a risk. Often, clothes are “shaken off” before washing. While this action helps to shake off dust or other visible particles before washing, it also creates more danger by disrupting and releasing asbestos fibers into the air.
Second-hand exposure can also occur as a result of an individual living in close proximity to a mine or a company that uses products containing asbestos. As an example, the activities of the W.R. Grace Vermiculite mine in Libby, Montana gave rise to several successful lawsuits. While the mine closed in 1991, it is important to note that asbestos fibers may remain in a person’s body for years or even decades before manifesting its dangerous effects. As a result, someone exposed to asbestos fibers prior to the plant closing may not have shown signs of health issues as a result of that exposure yet.
Today, we know that many employers actually had some awareness of the dangers of exposure to asbestos fibers. Unfortunately, those employers often did not take proper precautions, such as forcing employees to shower or change their clothes before going home. As a result, the families of workers exposed to asbestos fibers were also exposed. This second-hand asbestos exposure may allow victims to obtain compensation for medical expenses and suffering.
Compassionate Legal Advocacy
If you have been harmed by second-hand asbestos exposure and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is possible that you can recover needed compensation to combat your condition. The Throneberry Law Group has the experience and expertise to help you explore your legal options in recovering the resources you need to fight asbestos-related diseases. For more information, contact us today.