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59-year-old living mesothelioma victim (Texas resident) who was exposed by doing the laundry of her husband who worked as a supervisor in a heavy equipment maintenance motor pool

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Who Is At Risk for Mesothelioma?

Three Different Types of Exposure

The only known cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. Unfortunately, many people who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma either didn't know they were exposed to asbestos at some point in their life, or they were not warned about the danger of being regularly exposed to asbestos fibers.

Many individuals who were eventually diagnosed with mesothelioma were exposed to asbestos in the workplace, while on active duty in the military, or through secondary exposure.

Occupational Exposure

Workplace exposure to asbestos accounts for a large amount of mesothelioma diagnoses in the United States. In fact, the number one cause of work-related deaths is asbestos exposure.

The following occupations have the highest risk of asbestos exposure.

Military Exposure

Some statistics suggest that upwards of 30% of all mesothelioma patients are veterans of the military, as it was a common building and insulating material for many military products, including:

  • Shipyards and naval ships
  • Airplanes and jets used by the Air Force
  • Jeeps and other military vehicles

Secondary Exposure

Some individuals are diagnosed with mesothelioma even though, to their knowledge, they were never directly exposed. Secondary exposure occurs when you have contact with someone else who was exposed to asbestos fibers. For example, an individual can develop mesothelioma after coming into contact with someone who brought asbestos fibers home with them (such as on their clothing). It is particularly common in women, especially in wives whose husbands were in the military or had an occupation that frequently handled asbestos material.

You should be aware of the dangers of take home asbestos exposure. Individuals who work in job settings where direct asbestos exposure is a factor are at risk for mesothelioma. Most people know this. What you may not realize, however, is that the family members of workers exposed to asbestos on the job may also be at risk. This is called take home exposure, or bystander / secondary exposure.

Take-Home Asbestos Exposure

People can become exposed to asbestos not only through traditional direct exposure methods (such as working in an asbestos-related industry), but also through secondhand or “take home” exposure. This occurs when workers who work with asbestos materials bring asbestos fibers home on their clothing, skin, or personal belongings, contaminating the household environment and exposing their family members to dangerous asbestos fibers as a result.

Even if the worker was not in direct contact with the asbestos, the fibers can easily attach to their clothes, shoes and other items, making them a vehicle for innocent people to be exposed. This type of exposure can be just as dangerous as direct contact as prolonged exposure to asbestos fibers may lead to the development of deadly mesothelioma, asbestosis and even lung cancer.

Family members are at risk because asbestos fibers can be taken home in an exposed person's:

  • Skin
  • Shoes
  • Socks
  • Clothing
  • Equipment
  • Protective clothing
  • Gloves
  • Hair

If you believe that you may have been exposed to asbestos through work or household contact due to someone else's work history, it is important to seek immediate medical attention and legal advice in order to hold those responsible accountable and seek compensation for any resulting injuries.

Receive Strong Legal Advocacy from Our National Trial Attorneys

Speak with BCH if you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or other illness after exposure to asbestos. Our firm can help you answer your pressing questions and discover what your legal rights and options may be. Call BCH at (888) 367-7160 for a free review of your case.

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