Para occupational Secondary Exposure
Asbestos is a naturally occurring element that was commonly used as a construction material because of its heat-resistant properties. Its popularity was brought about by its core properties, including its electricity, ability to absorb and incredible resistance to heat. Moreover, in regards to cost and practicality, asbestos is preferred by a number of construction companies because it is cheaper when compared to other compounds in the market.
Asbestos is a mineral fiber that was widely used in a variety of building construction materials. Because of its heat resistant properties and fiber strength, asbestos has been used to manufacture goods, including floor tiles, paper products, roofs, shingles, friction products, automobile brakes, packaging, coatings and gaskets. Although harmless when left alone, asbestos is extraordinarily dangerous when asbestos pipes or products are contacted. When any asbestos-containing material is damaged or disturbed– whether by demolition, remodeling or repair activities—the fibers become airborne and are thus susceptible to inhalation. When inhaled, asbestos fibers stick to the lungs, and overtime, form cancerous tumors or other significant health problems.
In addition to occupational exposure to asbestos, a number of mesothelioma patients develop the deadly cancer from para-occupational asbestos exposure. This type of exposure is second hand in nature and is most common in female mesothelioma patients.
What is Para Occupational Asbestos Exposure?
Para occupational asbestos exposure refers to second-hand exposure to asbestos fibers. Cases that link mesothelioma cancer to para occupational asbestos exposure typically arise when a family member—who works in an asbestos-related occupation—is in perpetual contact with another. For example, a husband in the ship-building industry, who is in constant contact with asbestos fibers, puts his family at risk because of para occupational asbestos exposure.
Mesothelioma cancer caused by para occupational asbestos exposure is a significant concern among all individuals who work or come into contact with asbestos fibers through their family members or general environment. The majority of para occupational asbestos exposure cases are tragic because victims are exposed to the cancerous fibers from a family member who actively handles or has handled asbestos containing materials as part of their job function.
The plight of para occupational asbestos exposure victims has recently gained publicity through high level mesothelioma claims. That being said, studies from the late 1960s and early 1970s have shown that a significant portion of mesothelioma claims among women were primarily caused by para occupational asbestos exposure.
Males who work in direct contact with asbestos containing materials place their families at risk because they unknowingly bring loose fibers back home from their hair, skin or clothing. These asbestos fibers are then released into the home when their clothing is removed for wash or even when the materials are contacted by children or significant others. Adding to this problem is that wives or female loved ones, who take care of the laundry responsibilities, would shake the clothing causing the loose fibers to become airborne. Recent studies have stated that para occupational asbestos exposure to cancerous fibers may account for approximately 20% of mesothelioma cancer cases in industrialized nations.
Para Occupational Asbestos Exposure: The Legal Side
The legal status of individuals affected by para occupational asbestos exposure significantly varies by state and country:
• In the United States, high profile mesothelioma cancer cases are decided by local and federal courts concerning whether corporations should be held liable for mesothelioma cancers caused by para occupational asbestos exposure.
• England now recognizes and subsequently compensates victims for mesothelioma claims sparked by para occupational asbestos exposure
• For over 15 years, Australian courts have ruled that corporations or employers who work with asbestos-containing products may be held liable for para occupational exposure
• In the summer of 2007, Japanese courts ruled that companies may be held liable for para occupational asbestos exposure.
Para Occupational Asbestos Exposure from the Environment:
Asbestos fibers are naturally occurring minerals; they are commonly found in trace levels throughout the United States and the rest of the world. Low level asbestos exposure; however, does not pose significant risks to human beings. Communities near asbestos processing facilities or mines, on the other hand, place residents at severe risks of asbestos related cancers, such as mesothelioma.
In the United States, residents of small towns in Montana (most notably Libby) are deemed most at risk for developing mesothelioma cancers due to para occupational exposure. In these towns, hundreds of residents become sick from para occupational asbestos exposure from the town’s vermiculite mines.