What is secondhand mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that attacks the tissue that lines the patient’s organs. It is aggressive, deadly, and often tied to exposure to asbestos. Exposure can occur within the workplace. Research has linked asbestos exposure to many different types of work including construction and manufacturing.

Unfortunately, much like the link between smoking and lung cancer, the risk of mesothelioma increases even for those who are not directly exposed to asbestos. Known as secondhand exposure, it can happen when family members wash work clothing or even when a child comes to hug a parent who returns home from work.

Why is secondhand asbestos exposure dangerous?

Similar to firsthand exposure, once exposed, the small asbestos particles can enter the body and, over time, lead to cancer. Symptoms can include chest pain, coughing, unusual lumps, abdominal pain, and unexplained weight loss.

What can I do if a loved one gets secondhand mesothelioma?

The answer often depends on the state. In Tennessee, victims have found success holding the family member’s employer responsible for the expenses related to the disease through a personal injury claim.

In one example, the family of a 24-year-old woman who died from mesothelioma was able to successfully sue her father’s employer who operated factories with high levels of asbestos in the air. The family was able to build their case based on the argument that it was foreseeable that allowing employees to work in an area where these fibers were floating around in the air could also put the worker’s families at an increased risk of exposure.