When you go to work in a Pennsylvania factory, shipyard or railroad, you may be at risk for certain on-the-job injuries. In fact, most jobs include some type of personal injury risk; it's just that some are more dangerous than others. One of the greatest dangers in the industries mentioned here occurs when workers face exposure to asbestos. However, you don't have to actually be the one working in such fields to be at risk.
Non-occupational asbestos exposure is just as dangerous as exposure to asbestos fibers in the workplace. You can suffer injury if you live with someone who is exposed to asbestos at work, especially if he or she works around asbestos on a regular basis. If you have children in your household, they're also at risk.
Double the risk
If your spouse or another family member works around asbestos or is unexpectedly exposed to it on the job, you may be twice as likely than the general public to contract an asbestos-related illness. Mesothelioma, asbestosis and other cancer diseases can linger in a person's body for years before showing symptoms.
If your loved one works in a high-risk industry, you'll want to make sure you take precautions at home to reduce the chances of family members becoming ill.
Why children are so much at risk
If your children are like most, they might run to jump into their other parent's arms when he or she comes home from work. Some kids even like to put on their parent's jacket or shirt and pretend to be grown-up. The problem is that microscopic asbestos fibers cling to clothing, skin and hair.
This means your child might inhale or ingest the particles that your spouse has unknowingly brought into your home. This is why it's best that factory workers and others who work in high-risk places take showers and change clothing before interacting with loved ones when they get home from work.
Women are also at greater risk
If you're a woman, you're more likely to contract illness through secondary asbestos exposure. This is why wives, mothers and daughters of asbestos workers should be highly cautious. Learning as much as possible about asbestos may help improve your family's safety.
When is asbestos most dangerous?
For microscopic fibers to escape into the air, something must disturb the product containing them. When asbestos is friable, meaning easy to crumble, it is most dangerous. Think of wet floor tiles or insulation, cabinetry or ceilings someone is drilling, scraping, hammering or peeling. This increases friability and can cause a release of asbestos into the air.
Where to seek support
If you believe you or your loved one is ill and the cause of illness has something to do with on-the-job exposure to asbestos or second-hand exposure, you may want to speak with others who have experienced similar situations. They can tell you what symptoms they had and what you should tell your doctor when seeking medical diagnosis.
Many Pennsylvania residents also discuss asbestos-related issues with personal injury attorneys, especially if they have experience in asbestos litigation.