Common Pathways for Asbestos Exposure in United States
Asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral once widely used in various industries, has been recognized as a serious health hazard. Prolonged exposure to asbestos fibers can lead to devastating illnesses, including lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma. Understanding the most common pathways of asbestos exposure is crucial for raising awareness and preventing further harm.Occupational Exposure
One of the primary avenues for asbestos exposure is through occupations where individuals encounter asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) regularly. These occupations include construction workers, industrial laborers, and maintenance personnel. Lawsuits involving occupational asbestos exposure often revolve around employers' negligence in failing to provide adequate safety measures and protective equipment.
In the case of Borel v. Fibreboard Paper Products Corporation, a pipe insulator named Clarence Borel sued multiple asbestos manufacturers after developing mesothelioma due to occupational exposure.Environmental Exposure
Environmental asbestos exposure occurs when individuals come into contact with asbestos fibers in the air, water, or soil in their surroundings. This exposure pathway often affects individuals living near asbestos mines, factories, or older buildings with deteriorating asbestos-containing materials.
In the town of Libby, Montana, the W.R. Grace vermiculite mine contaminated the environment with asbestos fibers for decades. Thousands of Libby residents suffered asbestos-related illnesses, leading to a class-action lawsuit against W.R. Grace. The settlement awarded compensation to affected individuals and initiated extensive environmental cleanup efforts.Secondhand Exposure
Secondhand exposure to asbestos commonly occurs when individuals come into contact with asbestos fibers brought home on the clothes, skin, or hair of those who work in asbestos-related industries. This pathway particularly affects family members and loved ones who unintentionally inhale or ingest asbestos fibers.
The case of Beshada v. Johns-Manville Products Corp. highlighted the issue of secondary asbestos exposure. Mary Beshada, the wife of a worker who handled asbestos products, developed mesothelioma due to washing her husband's asbestos-contaminated clothing. The court found the manufacturer liable for failing to warn about the risks of secondhand exposure.Residential Exposure
Residential exposure occurs when individuals live in homes or buildings containing asbestos-containing materials, such as insulation, flooring, or roofing materials. Exposure can result from the disturbance or deterioration of these materials, releasing asbestos fibers into the air.Consumer Product Exposure
Asbestos has historically been used in various consumer products, including talcum powder, automotive parts, and construction materials. Individuals unknowingly exposed to asbestos through these products have pursued legal action against manufacturers for their failure to disclose the presence of asbestos.
The Johnson & Johnson talc cases gained significant attention, with thousands of individuals suing the company for developing ovarian cancer and mesothelioma after using talcum powder products contaminated with asbestos. These cases led to substantial settlements, highlighting the consequences of asbestos exposure through consumer products.The Throneberry Law Group
Asbestos exposure remains a significant concern, even though its use has been regulated and reduced in many countries. Understanding the common pathways of asbestos exposure is essential for promoting safety and seeking justice for those harmed by asbestos-related illnesses. If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos and developed an asbestos-related illness, The Throneberry Law Group, a nationwide firm, can provide expert legal assistance to pursue rightful compensation and hold responsible parties accountable. Contact us now for your free, confidential consultation.