Many asbestos-related illnesses are suffered by people who spent years working in environments where they were exposed to the fibers on a regular basis. They worked on railroads, in mines or performing construction or demolition on buildings made with materials containing asbestos.
However, there are also people who can suffer asbestos-related illnesses because they happened to live in the wrong place at the wrong time.
For example, one woman recently passed away from lung disease that was determined to have been caused by asbestos ash that covered her gardens and home after a severe fire at a building near her home about 30 years ago.
According to reports, the fire broke out and blanketed 15 square miles in asbestos-containing ash. Initially and for about two days, residents were not told that the ash covering their land was dangerous. In fact, another victim of the toxic dust stated that it floated around the air like snowflakes and kids would play in the "snow."
By the time it was announced that the ash was dangerous, the damage had already been done. It took at least five days to clean up; by then the asbestos covered gardens, got into water and sank into the soil.
This devastating case is a grim reminder that a person doesn't need to have been working in an industrial environment all day every day to face the risks of asbestos exposure. Living or working in a place that has been affected by a major building fire can put people at risk of breathing in particles or ingesting products contaminated by asbestos.
In the event that you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness after being exposed to the fiber in a situation similar to the one discussed in this post, you should understand that you have the right to explore your legal options. In some cases, it can be possible to hold property owners or other parties legally and financially accountable for damages you have suffered.
Source: Shropshire Star, "Shropshire woman's asbestos death linked to 1983 COD Donnington fire," Oct. 12, 2015