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Second-Hand Asbestos Exposure

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June 30, 2008

Second-Hand Asbestos Exposure

We've all, by now, heard the risks of inhaling asbestos fibers in factories, in houses, in schools, etc. What many people don't realize is that there is an equally large risk of second-hand exposure. Just like second-hand smoke hurts people, second-hand exposure to asbestos also hurts people.

When people say "second-hand exposure" they mean that the person that has been exposed to asbestos is not coming in direct contact with it at its source. The family of a miner that works in a taconite or asbestos mine would experience second-hand exposure if they came in contact with asbestos in their home rather than in the place where the material that contains asbestos is. It is similar to second-hand smoke in that there does not need to be direct contact with the cigarette (or insulation in this case) to experience some harmful affects of the item.

It is important to keep in mind, when dealing with asbestos, that the deadly fibers are inhaled into the lungs via other dust floating in the air. Just like when dusting, clothes can take in asbestos dust just like normal dust. This tendency of fibers to be trapped in the clothes of people means that whoever does the laundry is taking a serious risk. It gives a new adage to "Would it kill you to do the laundry?"

If the clothes to be laundered contain dust that has been exposed to asbestos, yes, it can actually kill you to do the laundry. The act of doing laundry involves picking up clothes from a laundry basket or hamper or something. When the clothes are picked up, there is air movement. This air movement stirs the dust particles to life and sends them floating through the air. When they are airborne, it is quite easy for someone to inhale that dust, just like any other dust. When one does the laundry for a husband or father's entire career in an asbestos mine, the asbestos fibers add up and accumulate in the lungs.

There does not need to be a lot of accumulation of fibers for Mesothelioma, the deadly lung cancer most commonly associated with asbestos, to develop. Lately, there have been numerous stories in the papers and across the internet about a dutiful wife doing her husband's laundry weekly and contracting Mesothelioma because of that. There have also been stories of children in large families contracting the disease after having been stuck with the chore of laundry while growing up. One of these instances resulted in the foundation of Kati's Hope Foundation for Mesothelioma.

Now, companies are requiring that their workers change out of their street clothes before starting work for the day. This requirement is designed to cut down on the amount of asbestos being taken home from the work place. Despite this new requirement, millions of people have still done a lot of laundry and given a lot of hugs over the years.

About the Author

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with mesothelioma following asbestos exposure, contact the Mesothelioma Lawyers of Williams Kherkher.

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