Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was found early on to exhibit strong heat- and fire-resistant properties. Unfortunately, after being used in numerous industries and construction projects, it was discovered that the inhalation of asbestos fibers could lead to the deadly cancer mesothelioma and other devastating lung conditions. Workers understand that any prolonged exposure could be deadly, but secondary exposure could be just as dangerous.
Primary exposure occurs when a person works directly with asbestos or is exposed to an area containing the mineral. Unfortunately, asbestos fibers can be difficult to remove from the skin and nearly impossible to remove from exposed clothing without the use of industrial machinery purpose-built to remove toxic materials from fabric.
Secondary exposure occurs when that person comes into contact with a person physically removed from the asbestos. This type of exposure is also referred to as indirect exposure, domestic exposure or household exposure due to the prevalence of workers exposing loved ones at home. The fibers can be transferred via skin contact or from fibers attached to the fabric of work clothes. Unfortunately, attempting to wash the work clothes in a home unit only serves to mix the asbestos around to the other family members’ clothing.
Significant others, children, co-workers, friends, close family and roommates are all at risk for secondary asbestos exposure.
The ingestion or inhalation of asbestos fibers can lead to the deadly cancer mesothelioma. While the disease might take many courses, there are some symptoms which are common across nearly all cases, including:
- Chest pain
- Persistent cough
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing and swallowing
If you have come into contact with asbestos through either primary exposure or secondary exposure, it is crucial that you work with a trusted medical professional and experienced legal professional to learn more about your options for treatment and monetary compensation.