If you have been keeping up with the facts on our website, you might already be aware of the connection between asbestos and mesothelioma, a rare and incurable cancer that most often develops in the linings of the lungs, abdomen, and heart.
While asbestos was once widely used and praised by the United States as a "miracle material," its use has been halted since awareness of the link between asbestos exposure and mesothelioma was raised in the 1970s. Asbestos fibers, when inhaled or swallowed, may penetrate and damage the cells of the mesothelium, and irregular cell division can progress into a malignant tumor. Prior to 1978, people were exposed to asbestos at their jobs on a regular basis.
Occupational asbestos exposure has resulted in mesothelioma diagnoses for not only those that breathed in the fibers everyday at work, but their family members as well. Do you remember your father coming home from the factory, construction site, or shipyard, and hugging him tightly? This is often how simple it was to immerse oneself in secondary asbestos exposure and start a fatal process that would not show itself until decades later.
Other ways in which the family members of workers were exposed to asbestos included household chores, such as doing the laundry. Men have historically held jobs at sites where they were exposed to asbestos continually, but it was often wives or children at home who would shake out clothes and do laundry at the end of a long work day.
Who knew that a hug or household chore could be so fatal? If you or someone you know has been subject to primary or secondary asbestos exposure, please share your story with us in a comment below.
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