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What is secondary asbestos exposure?

| Apr 30, 2021 | Mesothelioma/Asbestos-Related Illness |

People who suffer asbestos-related illnesses like mesothelioma often spent decades working or living with harmful products. In many cases, they were regularly handling asbestos or breathing in the fibers first-hand.

However, they are not the only people who suffer the risks of asbestos exposure. Others can develop illnesses as a result of secondary exposure.

How it happens

A typical example of how people can be victims of secondary exposure goes something like this. A construction worker comes home after spending all day working with asbestos in insulation, brake pads, gaskets, floor tiles, or pipes. They go into the home, hug their family, kick their boots off and throw their clothes in with the rest of the laundry.

This goes on nearly every day for years.

As a result, the worker’s spouse, children and others living in the home can also wind up breathing in the asbestos. This is secondary exposure.

Preventing secondary exposure

Perhaps the easiest and most effective way to prevent secondary exposure is to comply with proper decontamination protocols. These measures include:

  • Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Removing PPE before leaving a site
  • Thoroughly cleaning or disposing of equipment used with asbestos
  • Using a HEPA vacuum on hair, body and clothing to remove loose fibers
  • Showering 
  • Cleaning and removing shoes to prevent tracking asbestos off-site

Unfortunately, while these protocols are standard today, this was not always the case. Thus, people can suffer the consequences of secondary exposure today, even if it happened decades ago.

Because people may not realize they were ever exposed to asbestos in this manner, a diagnosis of mesothelioma, asbestosis or other related illness can be shocking. 

Secondary asbestos exposure can have devastating effects on a person’s health, which is why victims or their loved ones often seek legal and financial remedies after a related diagnosis or death. Doing so can help these parties get the treatment and compensation they deserve.

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