Although men are much more likely to be diagnosed with mesothelioma than women, studies show that women have also been victim to this dangerous disease. It is more common for men to develop mesothelioma, as they more frequently have been employed in positions with exposure to asbestos. Despite the irregularity with which women have held these types of positions, there have been a significant number of secondary exposure cases.
Secondary exposure to asbestos has often occurred when a woman's male relative, who worked with the dangerous substance, came home with particles on his clothing. Then, when the clothes were shaken out, the particles would fly into the air where they could easily be inhaled by family members. This was especially dangerous when the clothes were laundered in a small space, resulting in a denser concentration of fibers in the air.
According to a study conducted by Durham and Duke University Medical Centers, over half of the women diagnosed with mesothelioma had been exposed to asbestos fibers because of secondary exposure, which occurred because of contact in their household with a family member who worked with the substance.
Cases have also arisen in which young girls whose dads worked with asbestos grew up to develop pleural mesothelioma. These women often recount sitting on their dads' laps after work, before he had a chance to change out of his work clothes. Tragically, inhaling the fibers from those clothes for years at a time has led to mesothelioma diagnoses in some women.
For those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma due to secondary exposure, consulting with a skilled mesothelioma attorney is a wise step to ensure their rights are protected.
Source: Mesothelioma.com, "Secondary Exposure."