What Is Secondhand Exposure to Asbestos? Were You Exposed?

In the fights against big tobacco and for public health, medical professionals warned the public that cigarette smokers weren’t just hurting themselves when they lit up. Their children and others in their home were exposed to secondhand smoke, which is also associated with negative health consequences.

While it is far less common than cigarette smoking, exposure to asbestos can occur in a similar way. Many cases of mesothelioma occur because a person was previously exposed to asbestos on the job. But if asbestos fibers clung to their clothes, the family members of these workers may have been exposed to asbestos when the worker returned home.

What kinds of jobs were most associated with asbestos exposure? They include:

  • Construction
  • Mining
  • Shipbuilding
  • Auto repair
  • Insulation specialists
  • Roofing
  • Certain military assignments

Workers with one of these jobs (and a variety of others) likely faced regular exposure to asbestos before the material was banned in the late 1980s. But they may have also brought asbestos home with them on their clothes. A spouse doing laundry could have been exposed to those dangerous fibers, as could children when they hug their parent or engage in other close contact.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma but have never worked in one of the industries listed above, you may be wondering how exposure occurred. An attorney experienced in asbestos injury and litigation may be able to help you determine when and how exposure occurred, including potential secondhand exposure.