Second Hand Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos is an element found in nature that was frequently utilized as a building material. Asbestos was a popular material in the construction, automotive and ship-building industries because its fibers are heat resistant and relatively cheap.
Asbestos was also widely-used because for its conducting capabilities, as well as its ability to absorb chemicals. Furthermore, with regards to practicality, asbestos fibers were commonly preferred by various construction companies because of its low cost.
Because of asbestos’s heat resistant properties and fiber strength, the mineral has also been used to manufacture goods, including paper products, floor tiles, roofs, friction products, shingles, automobile brakes, packaging, coatings and gaskets. Although asbestos is harmless when left alone, the filament is exceptionally dangerous when the material is altered or contacted.
When an asbestos-containing material is disturbed– whether by remodeling, demolition or repair activities—the fibers become airborne. When airborne and subsequently inhaled, asbestos fibers pose an incredible health risk to human beings. Asbestos fibers, when perpetually inhaled, stick to the lungs, and overtime, form cancerous tumors or other significant health problems. Asbestos is a carcinogen; when the fibers stick to the lungs they eventually form cancerous tumors. If these tumors are malignant and subsequently metastasize throughout the body, the individual in question will face an extraordinarily dire outlook.
The majority of asbestos-related cancers derive from hands-on or occupational asbestos exposure. In other words, the majority of individuals who are stricken with mesothelioma cancer or another form of asbestos-related disease, contract the ailment through perpetual contact with asbestos fibers. However, in addition to occupational asbestos exposure, a number of mesothelioma patients develop their life-altering disease because of second hand asbestos exposure. The bulk of these cases are found in women; second hand asbestos exposure often occurs when a wife or loved one is in perpetual contact with her husband or boyfriend who maintained a job in an asbestos-related field.
What is Second hand Asbestos Exposure?
Second hand asbestos exposure refers to an indirect form of asbestos exposure. Individuals who contract mesothelioma or a similar asbestos related disease from second hand asbestos exposure typically do so from a loved one, such as a husband or boyfriend. Second hand asbestos cases are derivatives of occupational asbestos matters. For instance, a husband who handles asbestos-related materials puts his family at risk of second hand asbestos exposure.
Mesothelioma cancer perpetuated by second hand asbestos exposure is a primary concern among people who work or are in contact with asbestos fibers through their family members or general environment. The bulk of second hand asbestos exposure cases are tragic because victims are exposed to the carcinogens from family members who actively handle asbestos containing materials as part of their job.
The plight of second hand asbestos exposure victims has gained publicity through a large increase in mesothelioma claims. That being said, studies from the 1960s have shown that a substantial portion of mesothelioma claims filed by female patients were primarily caused by second hand asbestos exposure.
Males who work with asbestos containing fibers put their families at risk because they naively bring loose asbestos filaments into the home from their hair, skin or clothing. These cancerous fibers are released into the home when their clothing is removed for wash or even when the individual is hugged or touched by their children or wife. Research has shown that second hand asbestos exposure may account for approximately 20% of mesothelioma cancer (or other asbestos related diseases) cases in all industrialized nations.
The Legal Side of Second hand Asbestos Exposure
The legal status of individuals affected by second hand asbestos exposure significantly varies by state and country:
• In the United States of America, high profile mesothelioma cancer cases are decided by local and federal courts. These courts will decide whether corporations or any employer that deals with asbestos-contain material should be ruled liable for mesothelioma cancers caused by second hand asbestos exposure.
• England compensates mesothelioma victims if their disease was precipitated by second hand asbestos exposure
• Australian courts, for nearly a decade, have ruled that corporations or employers dealing with asbestos-containing products may be held liable for second hand exposure
• In 2007, Japanese courts ruled that companies or employers dealing with asbestos-containing products may be held liable for second hand asbestos exposure.
Second hand Asbestos Exposure from the Environment:
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral; asbestos fibers are often found—albeit it in trace levels—in the United States and the remainder of the world. Exposure to low levels of asbestos; however, does not pose severe health risks to human beings. In contrast, neighborhoods near asbestos mines or processing facilities impose severe asbestos-related risks, such as mesothelioma.