Asbestos has long been recognized as a dangerous carcinogen and the number one cause of mesothelioma. Decades of extensive use led to illness and death for many who worked directly with the substance during its peak usage from 1960 to 1980. Throughout the height of use, this largely meant that those working in industrial and commercial labor suffered the heaviest and most frequent exposure. Construction workers, bricklayers, pipefitters, insulators, and plumbers remain among the most at risk populations, due to the widespread use of materials containing asbestos. Because mesothelioma takes decades to develop after initial exposure, former workers are still being diagnosed with mesothelioma today as a consequence of exposure early in life.
However, the risk of asbestos exposure does not stop at the job site. Secondhand exposure to asbestos dust has been found to be incredibly dangerous, even leading to mesothelioma in many cases. Also known as take-home asbestos exposure, this primarily affects the family members of those who work directly with asbestos.
Take home asbestos is most commonly brought into a residence on the clothes or shoes of the family member working directly with asbestos. The dust clings easily to these surfaces, allowing it to travel home with the primary worker. Individuals can unknowingly put their families at risk, including spouses or children who may come in contact with contaminated items. In one case represented by Vogelzang Law this year, a woman was diagnosed with mesothelioma after washing her husband’s clothes. He was a plumber.
Secondary asbestos exposure is troubling, dangerous, and often overlooked. Vogelzang Law is a Chicago law firm committed to seeking justice for families affected by asbestos. The firm has successfully represented over 200 families, including those diagnosed with mesothelioma after secondary exposure.