3 Common Ways Second-Hand Asbestos Exposure Occurs

July 8, 2014

Think of it like the well-known exposure to cigarette smoke and tobacco. Deadly exposure can come in two major forms: first-hand exposure (coming into immediate contact with asbestos) or second-hand exposure (coming into contact with a person who had been exposed to asbestos).

And just like with second-hand exposure to cigarette smoking and tobacco, second-hand exposure to asbestos is something you’ve got to be aware of in order to better protect you and your family.

Here’s what you need to know.

Second-hand exposure to asbestos can be just as lethal as first-hand exposure (such as occupational exposure, or exposure while on the job). And while there are a number of ways to receive second-hand exposure to asbestos, the three most common ways are listed below.

  1. Family members of someone who comes into contact with asbestos in his or her job. These family members may be exposed to asbestos fibers that their husband, parent or other close family member brought home from work on clothing. Wives who washed their husband’s work clothes may have a particular risk for developing mesothelioma later on as they had repeated contact with the asbestos-laden clothes.
  2. Asbestos communities — there is such a thing. That would be any area where the people and surroundings are exposed to asbestos because of local manufacturing or other work situations where asbestos is used. People who live in asbestos communities may come into contact with asbestos in the air and water. Note: asbestos does have less of a run-off effect than other toxic chemicals or substances and typically asbestos is not harmful unless disturbed. However, once disturbed, asbestos can circulate into the air we breathe, the water we drink or the things we touch with our own bare hands.
  3. People who live and work in pre-1970s buildings that contain asbestos materials such as wallboard, insulation, tiles and pipes are at a particular risk — especially when deterioration or renovation projects are underway.

So there you have it. The three most common ways a person can be exposed to asbestos, second-hand.

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