As the child of someone who worked with asbestos, you may want to know that secondary exposure could lead to your own health issues. Secondhand exposure can result when a parent or other party has asbestos fibers on their clothing, skin or hair.
Here’s a good example of how secondhand asbestos exposure could occur. Imagine a child waiting for a parent to come home from work. That parent works with asbestos, so their clothing contains the fibers. Their skin is covered in fibers, too. Even their hair contains it.
In the first few seconds that a parent walks in the door, the child may be exposed to fibers that fall off their clothing or are breathed in while being picked up. Every time the parent shakes their head or moves, more fibers are released into the air.
While this isn’t usually a major problem when there are only a few short exposures, long-term exposure through secondhand methods can still lead to problems.
Secondhand asbestos exposure has been linked to cases of mesothelioma. For the most part, men over the age of 65 are the most likely to develop mesothelioma, but others may develop the condition as well, particularly if they have been exposed to asbestos fibers regularly for many years.
If you have been exposed to asbestos and are having trouble breathing or feeling unwell, it’s a good idea to go seek a medical exam. Your medical provider can look for signs of mesothelioma and other lung-conditions related to asbestos exposure. With an early diagnosis, you have the best chance of survival.