Asbestos is a human carcinogen that can lead to deadly cancer in some people. Not everyone exposed to asbestos falls ill, but there is direct evidence connecting prior asbestos exposure in certain people to cancer that they later develop. Generally speaking, anyone who has worked with asbestos is likely at risk of developing mesothelioma, lung cancer and certain other cancers years later.
In some cases, it may not be the employee who falls ill but rather one of their family members. Someone diagnosed with mesothelioma or another cancer without ever working with asbestos themselves may start to question whether a loved one’s job may have been the source of their exposure.
Is secondhand exposure to asbestos through a family member’s employment sufficient to cause cancer in someone?
Secondary exposure is a known cause of cancer
In recent years, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of women diagnosed with mesothelioma, and many of those new cancer patients did not work with asbestos. Some of them didn’t work outside of their homes at all. However, they may have had spouses or other family members that handled asbestos on the job.
Their family member may have unintentionally exposed them to asbestos after work. The small amounts of asbestos that people may have brought home on their clothing or skin could be enough to sicken someone, especially if there was frequent exposure over the course of multiple years. Research has established that any amount of asbestos exposure, even low levels of secondhand exposure, can be enough to eventually lead to cancer developing in an individual.
Asbestos claims are still an option after secondary exposure
Someone does not need to have worked for a company that handles asbestos to qualify for compensation after a mesothelioma diagnosis. If someone can directly connect their condition to a family member’s former work, they could potentially bring a claim against that employer or an asbestos trust that the company has started to compensate people exposed through its business operations.
Recognizing that exposure through a family member’s employment could lead to a successful asbestos claim may help those recently diagnosed with mesothelioma or another medical condition related to asbestos exposure.