People in dozens of different industries may handle asbestos as part of their jobs. Those who work in chemical plants and water treatment facilities could have asbestos exposure, as might construction workers, especially those working to renovate older buildings.
Especially in the years before there were extensive asbestos rules in place, many more industries may have exposed workers to asbestos without proper protection. Those workers may only notice the medical consequences of that asbestos exposure decades later. Asbestos is a known human carcinogen that can cause lung cancer and mesothelioma, among other forms of cancer.
Modern safety guidelines make it clear that there is no safe level of workplace asbestos exposure, so you may be grateful that you never had to personally handle such dangerous materials. However, your doctor just diagnosed you with a cancer strongly related to asbestos exposure. Is it possible to have an asbestos-related illness when you did not directly work with this known human carcinogen?
Secondhand exposure is sufficient to cause illness
You don’t need to handle asbestos directly to inhale enough to damage your body. Simply encountering those who worked with asbestos may have been enough to put your health at risk. Secondary asbestos exposure could occur in a number of ways.
Maybe you worked at a diner up the street from a factory where workers came in on their lunch breaks. The asbestos on their clothing and skin may have contaminated your work environment. Perhaps one of your family members worked in an industry that utilized asbestos, and they brought it into your home.
There have been many cases of spouses of those who work with asbestos developing mesothelioma, lung cancer and other illnesses associated with asbestos exposure.
Connecting your illness to asbestos is the first step
Recognizing that lung cancer, mesothelioma and numerous other illnesses may have their root in a family member’s asbestos exposure on the job or your secondary exposure at a workplace can help you begin the process of seeking compensation.
There may be a fund that can provide you with resources to cover medical costs and lost wages because of your illness. You can also use the resources you secure to provide comfort and financial security for your family members as well. Understanding how secondhand asbestos exposure endangers people might motivate you to bring a claim.