Asbestos is one of the most dangerous materials that workers have had to handle in industrial settings in the United States. In fact, as information about the medical impact of asbestos exposure has become clearer with time, limits for safe exposure levels have dropped to nearly zero.
Companies now know that they have to take every necessary step to protect their workers from the dangers of asbestos. Respirators, coveralls and decontamination showers are all key to reducing the level of risk that working with asbestos generates.
Unfortunately, most companies weren’t taking such drastic measures years ago. Inadequate workplace protections didn’t just endanger the employees themselves but also the families that they went home to after a long day at work.
How secondary asbestos exposure occurs
The source of primary asbestos exposure is the point where a human interacts with this dangerous mineral substance. Secondary exposure involves someone not directly handling asbestos eventually inhaling particulate asbestos.
Workers returning home might hug and kiss their family members, which might lead to their family inhaling asbestos fibers from their skin and clothing. Workers might spread a minuscule and invisible but still dangerous amount of asbestos dust to the air and furniture in their home, even if they shower and change soon after getting back. The person washing work clothes could also have exposure, even if they didn’t directly interact with the worker when they came home daily.
Although most compensation claims related to employment asbestos exposure involve workers, their family members who suffered medical consequences due to secondary exposure may also have the right to take action against an employer or their asbestos bankruptcy trust.