One of the things that people likely do not always realize about asbestos exposure is that it is not always direct. People may generally think that if they have never worked with asbestos or held it in their hands that they have not been exposed to asbestos. Sadly, this is not true. In some cases, the victims of an asbestos-related wrongful death have only been indirectly exposed to a fiber that ultimately causes fatal and devastating illnesses.
Indirect sources of asbestos exposure were likely experienced by family members of people who worked directly with asbestos. For decades, people were forced to work with asbestos-containing products without any protection from the deadly airborne fibers that were released during the work. Not only were these workers breathing in the asbestos on site, but they were bringing those same deadly fibers back to their families on their clothes and shoes.
This was reportedly the case for a 66-year-old woman who died from mesothelioma in 2010. She never worked in construction or as an electrician or in jobs that required her to rip out asbestos-containing insulation in storage heaters. She never found herself covered in asbestos dust after a long day on the job.
But her husband did.
Reports indicate that the woman developed mesothelioma after years of washing her husband’s overalls and clothes that were covered in asbestos. For four years, her husband worked in volatile and deadly work conditions that put him directly at risk for developing an asbestos-related disease. Tragically, his wife was the one to suffer the consequences.
The man was awarded compensation for the loss of his wife by his former employer. While the husband acknowledges that money will not bring his wife back, it serves as acknowledgment that the employer was responsible and will make it easier for him to begin to move on.
Source: Daily Mail, “Woman, 66, killed by asbestos after washing her husband’s overalls 40 years ago,” Rachel Reilly, May 3, 2013