Understanding second-hand asbestos exposure

On Behalf of | Mar 22, 2024 | Asbestos Exposure & Claims

Asbestos is a mineral that are found in the environment. Asbestos can be pulled into a fluffy consistency. Asbestos fibers are strong, resistant to heat and chemicals and don’t conduct electricity. This made them a popular choice for building materials and insulation for a long time.

The dangers of asbestos are well-known now, but it’s still used in some products. People who work with asbestos probably know the basic safety guidelines for keeping themselves safe. They may not realize that they also need to take steps to keep their loved ones protected from asbestos too.

The hidden danger of second-hand exposure

Second-hand asbestos exposure occurs when someone isn’t directly working with asbestos materials but still comes into contact with the dangerous fibers. This can happen when workers bring home asbestos fibers on their clothes, hair or tools, and family members inhale them.

Over time, breathing in asbestos fibers can cause severe lung diseases, including a type of cancer known as mesothelioma. This is true, even for those who only breathe a small number of fibers because of second-hand exposure.

How does second-hand exposure happen?

If a family member works in a building where asbestos is present, like an old school or a factory. While they work, tiny asbestos fibers can attach to their clothes, shoes, hair and even their skin. When they come home, these fibers can be released into the air at home, especially when they take off their work clothes or if their clothes are shaken out before laundry. Unfortunately, anyone in the home can breathe in these fibers without even knowing.

Preventing second-hand exposure

Awareness is the first step to protection. Workers should change their clothes and shower, if possible, before coming home. Workplaces should also provide proper safety equipment and cleaning facilities to prevent asbestos from leaving the worksite. Families should know about the risks of asbestos exposure and take steps to prevent second-hand exposure, ensuring a safer environment for everyone.

Understanding and preventing second-hand asbestos exposure is crucial to protecting families’ health, especially when one or more members work in environments where asbestos is present. By taking the right precautions, families can minimize their risk of developing asbestos-related diseases. With that said, if a family member comes down with a condition related to asbestos, seeking compensation may be possible. Seeking legal guidance is a good way to get started.


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