Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral substance that is perfect proof of the idea that naturally-occurring items are not inherently safe. In its natural form, asbestos has numerous industrial uses including providing insulation and slowing the spread of fire. However, it is also dangerous to any workers who handle the substance without proper protection.
Inhaled asbestos can cause asbestosis, lung cancer and even mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a deadly form of cancer that starts in the organ linings and then metastasizes to other parts of the body. Unlike many other forms of cancer, mesothelioma has no known cure and a very low survival rate even five years after diagnosis.
If medical professionals recently diagnosed with mesothelioma, reviewing your personal history for sources of asbestos exposure can help you make sense of your condition. Even if you never worked with asbestos, you may have a loved one who did.
Secondhand exposure can be as deadly as primary exposure
There is no safe level of asbestos exposure. Some people can handle asbestos every day for years and never develop health concerns, while others could get sick after intermittent secondhand exposure. Spouses and children of those who work with asbestos may be at increased risk of mesothelioma due to their secondhand asbestos exposure.
If someone didn’t wear coveralls while handling asbestos and did not shower and change clothing after work, the trace amounts of this dangerous substance they bring home on their clothing, shoes, skin and hair could be enough to contaminate your household and sick in their family members. Confirming whether your spouse or your parents ever worked with asbestos could help you determine the point of exposure that eventually resulted in your mesothelioma.
You don’t have to work with asbestos to make a claim
Businesses that expose their workers to asbestos have liability if those workers later become sick. It can take decades for mesothelioma to develop after asbestos exposure, so workers may have to make a claim against their former employer to cover their treatment.
The spouses and children of workers who suffered secondhand exposure in their own homes could also have the right to bring legal claims against businesses or bankruptcy trusts established because of asbestos claims against a company. Connecting your mesothelioma with secondary asbestos exposure is a good first step toward pursuing compensation for your illness.