Certain kinds of cancer have strong medical correlations with personal behavior. Lung cancer, throat cancer and cancer of the mouth all have strong correlations with tobacco use. Liver cancer is common in those with alcohol addiction issues.
The jobs that people do can also increase their likelihood of developing certain cancers. If you never worked with hazardous materials or in an industrial setting, a diagnosis with mesothelioma can seem like a mystery. After all, mesothelioma is a cancer with a strong correlation to asbestos exposure.
This cancer of the organ lining often occurs decades after an employee has workplace exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma could also develop in those who have had secondhand or secondary exposure because of a loved one employment history.
Workers who handle asbestos could bring it home with them
If it has been more than a few years since your family member or spouse worked with asbestos, they may not have had access to the best protective gear on the job. In the past, companies may not have provided respirators, coveralls and other crucial safety equipment to prevent workers from exposing themselves or others to asbestos.
Someone you know who worked with asbestos could have brought small amounts of it home on their skin, clothing or hair. You could then inhale that asbestos when you hugged that person or when you came into contact with their clothing or any furniture that they sat on after work. While secondary exposure doesn’t create the same level of risk as primary exposure, it still has a known correlation with the development of mesothelioma later in life.
What are your rights as someone with secondary asbestos exposure?
People are nervous to ask for help when their spouse or family member brought asbestos into the home. They may not realize that it isn’t the worker with the ultimate responsibility for that exposure but rather the company that employed them. You may be able to bring a claim against the employer or against its mesothelioma bankruptcy trust if the company has gone out of business or restructured.
Talking about your family’s employment history and your diagnosis can give you a better idea about your rights after a shocking diagnosis with mesothelioma due to secondary exposure.