Second-hand asbestos exposure is a real thing: when asbestos fibers come to rest on a worker’s clothing, skin, or hair, they can be transported home and inhaled by those around them. If an employer does not enforce strict procedures for workers to follow to avoid asbestos exposure, riding in the same car and even hugging a friend or family member can become deadly activities.
This was exactly the situation for Johnny Kesner, Jr., who was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2011. As a child and young adult, Kesner spent many days and nights at the house of his uncle, who frequently returned home in his work clothing covered in asbestos fibers. “While he was still in his work clothes, Kesner’s uncle would often play with Kesner and sometimes sleep near him,” his appeal states.
Kesner’s claims that his uncle’s employer was partly responsible for his exposure and subsequent illness were initially dismissed by an Alameda County court. After appealing the dismissal of the suit, the California Supreme Court reversed the decision. This was the first published opinion in the state to impose the duty prevent exposure in favor of a guest in an employee’s home.
It is not just wives and children, friends and extended family members are diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases due to their interaction with workers who handled asbestos products day after day.
Have you been the victim of secondary asbestos exposure? Please share your story with us in a comment below.