Is second-hand asbestos exposure a threat?

You may know that people who are exposed to asbestos have a higher likelihood of developing asbestosis or mesothelioma. What you may not know is that people who were not directly exposed may also be at risk of developing these conditions.

Secondary exposure, also known as second-hand exposure, can happen when asbestos fibers are carried home on a worker's clothing or materials. Asbestos fibers float in the air, so it was fairly common for fibers to latch onto clothing or a person's hair, traveling with them wherever they went.

Know the truth about asbestos

Asbestos is a known carcinogen. That means that the U.S Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) both recognize that it can cause cancer. One other agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) claims that asbestos can cause cancer of the lungs, mesothelioma, cancer of the larynx and cancer of the ovaries.

Conditions related to asbestos are rare, but mesothelioma is the most common of them. Asbestos exposure has also been linked to an increased risk of asbestosis, which can lead to permanent lung damage due to chronic inflammation.

Anyone who is exposed to asbestos could develop one of these conditions. That includes those who have been exposed through second-hand conditions. For example, children who greet their mothers or fathers at the door could breathe in asbestos fibers that are on their parent's clothing.

Asbestos has the potential to make you very sick, even if you are only exposed through second-hand actions. Know your rights if you develop a condition related to asbestos exposure because you could be in a position to seek compensation.

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