For decades, thousands of manufacturers used asbestos in household and industrial goods, placing millions of Americans at risk of significant exposure. While the risks of asbestos exposure are more well-known now and the substance is widely known to cause serious medical complications like mesothelioma, many products still include the substance in some quantity.
Unfortunately, many people do not realize just how easy asbestos exposure can be, especially if it happened many years ago and its effects are just now understood. If you suspect that you or someone you love experienced asbestos exposure, it is wise to examine your history carefully to identify any points of exposure.
Occupational exposure to asbestos is the most common, and usually the most harmful. Individuals who regularly worked in environments that dealt with asbestos or who regularly handled asbestos as part of their work experience the highest likelihood of harm. This may also include individuals who worked in spaces that included asbestos that was poorly contained, even if they did not regularly handle any asbestos materials.
Asbestos is such a lightweight material that it is easy for its fibers to travel if they are not carefully contained. For a large part of their history in industrial production, producers and manufacturers did not take proper precautions to keep these materials safe, endangering the lives of others who lived and worked in regular contact with individuals who commonly interacted with asbestos.
Extra-occupational exposure commonly occurs in family members and others who live in close quarters with someone who regularly handles or encounters asbestos. For instance, if a family member washed the clothes of a factory worker who regularly handled asbestos, then the family member may suffer exposure to asbestos.
Asbestos travels easily on air currents, and can spread throughout an area over time. Simply surrounding a factory that utilizes asbestos with tall brick walls likely is not enough to keep the material from spreading, and for many years asbestos was not used with caution.
Unfortunately, many individuals suffer the effects of asbestos because of area exposure, or neighborhood exposure, as it is commonly called. This may occur in a victim who lived for a period of time near a facility or worksite that used asbestos. The material could easily leave the worksite or facility and contaminate an entire neighborhood, leaving the residents to deal with long-term effects they may not recognize for years.
If you or anyone you love suffers from a form of asbestos exposure, then you may need to consider legal tools to protect your rights and seek fair compensation for your losses. With careful research and strong legal resources, you may have more opportunities than you realize to pursue justice.