When people think of mesothelioma, a cancer correlated with asbestos exposure, they often think of men who work in manufacturing, construction or mining occupations. While it is true that those who work in certain fields may risk environmental asbestos exposure, those employees are not the only ones at risk.
Workers who come home with asbestos on their person or on their clothing can unwittingly expose their families to this dangerous carcinogen as well. Wives of men who work in fields with asbestos exposure may wind-up developing mesothelioma, even if their spouse never becomes sick. Second-hand exposure to asbestos, also called secondary exposure, is dangerous just like first-hand exposure for workers.
Sometimes, workers bring the danger home with them
Asbestos is a mineral that various industries have used for a range of purposes for centuries. Since the early 20th century, employers and medical professionals have known that asbestos poses significant health risks to workers. This knowledge has led to an increase in regulations for worker safety when they must handle or work with asbestos.
Unfortunately, these protections don't extend to their spouses, who may have exposure in the home. Particulate fibers can wind up embedded in the clothing, hair or even vehicle of an exposed worker. Their family members, who will often embrace them or assist with laundry and other tasks, can also end up breathing in asbestos fibers as a result.
Regardless of how someone winds up exposed to asbestos, the more asbestos they inhale, the greater their risk of developing conditions in the future. Women who have never worked or those who have never had any direct environmental exposure can still end up developing cancers like mesothelioma because of secondary exposure to asbestos, especially if their spouse regularly worked with asbestos.
Anyone sickened by environmental asbestos has rights
Due to the severity of mesothelioma and the expense and difficulty in treating it, there are many financial options available to those diagnosed with mesothelioma. This cancer starts in the lining of organs, including the lungs, heart and abdominal organs. People often don't realize they have mesothelioma until it has become severe, though medical science advances help provide better and faster diagnosis.
There are funds that provide money for treatment to those diagnosed with mesothelioma. There is also the potential to hold product manufacturers or employers accountable for environmental asbestos exposure and mesothelioma or other cancers that result from that exposure.
Receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis is devastating. Treatment is difficult, and the condition is almost universally fatal. However, your family should not have to bear the financial burden of the illness as well as the physical realities of it. Exploring your legal and financial options after a diagnosis is a wise decision.