We have all heard of the dangers of second-hand smoke and how exposure can increase the risk of lung and other cancers. But does the same hold true for other dangerous products? When it comes to asbestos exposure, the answer is often yes.
What is second-hand asbestos exposure?
Second-hand asbestos exposure occurs when someone who works with asbestos brings the fibers home and exposes their family to the fibers. Family members can then inhale these fibers and later develop cancer and other serious illnesses. Part of the frustration with mesothelioma and other asbestos related cancer diagnosis is the time it takes from the exposure to the illness. Exposure to asbestos can result in cancer decades after the initial exposure.
Unlike second-hand smoke exposure, the exposure is often not a conscious choice. The person who is bringing home the asbestos fibers is likely unaware of the potential harm.
What should I do if I or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma?
The issue of second-hand asbestos exposure resulting in cancer is one that medical experts expect to expand in coming years. A research paper published in 2018 notes that these types of exposure related illness will likely increase significantly over the next several decades. The fact that those who are going through this are not alone may provide some level of comfort.
It is also helpful to know that it is possible to hold those responsible for the exposure accountable for their negligence, even decades after exposure. In a recent case, a woman whose father, husband and uncles worked in careers that led to exposure to asbestos developed mesothelioma. She filed a lawsuit against the property owner, Kraft Heinz, and a contractor, Metal Masters, Inc. for exposure to asbestos. The court agreed with her argument, that the property owner and contractor allowed for irresponsible exposure to asbestos that led to her fatal cancer diagnosis, and awarded her estate $32 million.
This is just one example of a secondary exposure case moving through the courts with a successful outcome. Anyone that believes they have become ill as a result of exposure should discuss the matter with legal counsel to see if they are eligible for a similar claim.