The Dangers of Secondhand Asbestos Exposure
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- The Dangers of Secondhand Asbestos Exposure
Any asbestos exposure can be dangerous, especially if it takes place repeatedly over long periods. Most firsthand exposure happens at blue-collar jobs where asbestos is used to make products. Due to its fibrous nature, asbestos can cling to a person’s clothing and be brought home to loved ones. This is called secondhand asbestos exposure.
If you are sick due to secondhand asbestos exposure, call Phillips Law Group today. We have almost 30 years of experience handling all types of injury claims, including diseases caused by asbestos.
Our team of experienced attorneys excels at offering compassionate legal care to those who need it. As one of Arizona’s largest consumer law firms, we have offices around the state and beyond, and we are fully prepared to fight on your behalf.
Call Phillips Law Group right away at (800) 706-3000. We are available 24/7 for a free consultation on your case. And remember: there is no fee for our services unless you win.
What is Secondary Asbestos Exposure?
As the Industrial Revolution roared humanity forward, asbestos was a common mineral used for making all sorts of products. By the 20th century, many men were working in factories and shops that contained asbestos. At the time, there was little understanding of the dangers of this level of regular exposure. Not only were factory workers getting sick, but so were their family members.
Men working in factories would often carry home asbestos on their work clothes, skin, tools, and shoes. They were covered in it from head to toe. This led to secondhand exposure, also known as secondary exposure. Wives were especially at risk since they most often washed the clothes and cleaned the house where asbestos dust likely settled. The bad element about secondhand exposure is it is just as dangerous as firsthand exposure.
Factory workers were developing the same severe health complications as their wives and kids after this exposure. It was not until the late 1800s that doctors began to realize what was happening and speak up against asbestos exposure. Laws to protect individuals from disease-causing asbestos exposure didn’t even come until the 1970s.
What Causes Secondary Asbestos Exposure?
Asbestos is a mineral with a rough texture that can easily become dust and break into microscopic shards. The jagged edges can easily get caught on a person’s skin, hair, clothing, shoes, tools, or anything else he or she might be wearing. When someone walks through his or her home, asbestos can break off and travel through the air, finally falling like dust.
Thus, the risk of exposure in the home is very real. If someone encounters asbestos and did not get it at the source, then it is considered to be secondhand exposure.
There are three main ways secondhand asbestos exposure happens in the home including the following:
In the laundry
A worker who comes home after being exposed to asbestos will likely have it all over his clothing. This will be the main source of secondhand exposure to family members. As he walks through the house and takes his clothing off, these microscopic dust particles will be tossed into the air. This can lead to the entire house being contaminated. Whoever picks up the clothes to wash them will also likely inhale the fibers.
One of the worst things you can do is try to wash clothes that have been exposed to asbestos. Most consumer-level washers are not equipped to remove it properly. All that will do is contaminate other clothing with asbestos particles. The best way to handle removal is to dispose of clothing by placing it in a watertight container or bag and then taking it to an asbestos-approved landfill for proper disposal.
When a worker gets home, he often will want to sit on his couch and relax. Even if he takes a shower first, he has likely contaminated every room he walked through. Most families spend time in the living room and sit next to each other on the furniture. The dust may settle there after some time but gets tossed back into the air the moment it is disturbed. This can lead to regular instances of continued secondhand exposure.
If the spouse or kids hug someone who was exposed to asbestos upon his arrival home, the substance may transfer from the worker’s hair, skin, or clothing to the family member. There have been some instances of children who developed mesothelioma from being around parents who were exposed to asbestos at work.
Are Children Likely to Develop Diseases From Secondhand Asbestos Exposure?
While secondhand asbestos exposure can happen, diseases caused by it are rare in children and young adults. A few studies have been conducted over the years that show just how rare it is for children to get sick from secondhand exposure. Between 1919 and 1961, there were only 4 known cases out of 221 people diagnosed with mesothelioma who were children.
The main reason why so few kids develop health complications from exposure is how long it takes for complications to happen. It can take anywhere from 10 to 50 years. This means young children can be exposed by a parent and not get sick until they are in their 50s and 60s. Many people today who get mesothelioma were exposed earlier in life either firsthand or secondhand.
Symptoms of Secondhand Asbestos Exposure
The symptoms of secondhand asbestos exposure are the same as those who are exposed firsthand. How you inhaled or ingested asbestos fibers does not increase or decrease the risks. The jagged, rough nature of this mineral does not just cling to clothing, skin, hair, and furniture. Once it makes its way into your body, it will likely stay there for the rest of your life. The body has a difficult time expelling asbestos.
In most instances, you would have no way of knowing you were exposed to asbestos until years later when symptoms begin to develop. This is bad news for people who had it in their homes and breathed it in for decades. When the symptoms do eventually hit, the first place you may notice a change is in the lungs. Asbestos often accumulates in the lungs first but can travel to different parts of the body, like the stomach, throat, and colon.
Symptoms of asbestos exposure in the lungs include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Respiratory difficulties
- Pleural thickening, plagues, and effusion
Other bodily symptoms of asbestos exposure include:
- Weight loss
- Clubbed finger
- Abdominal swelling
- Bowel obstruction
- Trouble swallowing
- Loss of appetite
Types of cancer
Cancers caused by asbestos exposure include:
- Lung cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Laryngeal cancer
Phillips Law Group is Ready to Help You
If you have developed a disease due to secondhand asbestos exposure, you may be entitled to receive compensation.
The dangers of this type of contamination have been known for a long time. Still, some employers choose not to protect their employees and refuse to provide a safe working environment. You are now sick because of someone else’s negligence, so it’s time to get compensated for what that person has done to you.
Phillips Law Group has helped over 155,000 clients win more than $1 billion in damages. We are one of Arizona’s largest consumer law groups, so we have the resources to take on big companies to get you the justice you deserve.
We care about our clients and getting good results. Our team of experienced attorneys will be by your side throughout the entire process. Contact us today to see how we can help you!
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