In the early 20th century, many researchers and scientists began linking asbestos exposure to developing mesothelioma, a rare but deadly type of cancer. However, despite their findings, several companies and manufacturers continued to exposure their employees to asbestos every day.
Between 1973 and 1989, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned several uses of asbestos and asbestos-containing products, as well as any new uses of asbestos.
But for millions of workers and their families, these regulations were introduced too late. According to the National Cancer Institute, many of these laborers were exposed to heavy amounts of asbestos, which increases their chances of developing mesothelioma decades later.
In addition, these workers brought asbestos home with them, unknowingly putting the lives of their family members at risk.
How asbestos can travel from work to home
Small and nearly invisible asbestos fibers may become attached to employees’ clothes while at work. When they come home, these employees expose their family members to these asbestos fibers after having close contact with them. When doing laundry, whoever handles their contaminated uniform will be exposed to asbestos as well.
Second hand asbestos exposure from contaminated clothing
Asbestos fibers can be released into the air when brushing up against contaminated clothing. For example, a hug could send hundreds of these fibers flying into the air.
Asbestos fibers are the most dangerous when airborne, because one has a chance of inhaling or swallowing them. If this happens, these fibers can stay in the lining of the lungs or stomach, injuring the cells over time and eventually cause mesothelioma. Because mesothelioma has a long latency period, it can take anywhere between 20 and 50 years between the first instance of exposure and a mesothelioma diagnosis.
In the end, any second hand asbestos exposure can put loved ones at risk for developing mesothelioma in the future.
Diagnosed with mesothelioma? Find out if you’re eligible for compensation
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be eligible to obtain compensation under Illinois, Wisconsin, and Washington law. Call us today at (312) 578-9501 to speak directly with one of our attorneys about your legal options.
You can also fill out our online contact form here. One of our team members will be in touch with you shortly. A free, no-obligation consultation is available as well.