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Lawsuit alleges secondhand asbestos exposure

We talk often on our Madison County mesothelioma blog about "secondhand exposure' to asbestos, without going into significant detail about exactly what that means. A recent asbestos lawsuit provides a closer look at that legal claim, which is growing increasingly common in mesothelioma lawsuits in Illinois and throughout the country.

In the secondhand asbestos lawsuit, the wife of an oil refinery worker has sued 11 defendant companies at which her husband worked. She claims that her husband routinely came home with asbestos dust on his clothing, causing her to be secondarily exposed to asbestos. As a result, she alleges, she has been diagnosed with cancer and suffers from breathing difficulties.

Specifically, she claims that the defendant companies, which include Chevron USA, Mobil Oil, Texaco, ExxonMobil, Texaco, Citgo and DuPont, failed to protect workers and, in turn, their family members from the dangerous effects of asbestos fibers. The plaintiff is seeking damages for her past and future medical expenses, as well as pain, mental anguish, impairment and lost wages. She has also requested reimbursement for all court costs.

So what is secondhand asbestos exposure? Simply, it takes place when a worker is exposed to asbestos during the course of employment, and then transfers those dangerous asbestos fibers home on his or her clothing or in his or her vehicle. The worker's family, roommates or others with whom he or she comes in contact is then also exposed to the asbestos fibers, putting those people at risk of mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer or similar deadly diseases, despite the fact that they have never worked with asbestos.

Source: Southeast Texas Record, "Woman claims asbestos exposure through husband's work clothes," David Yates, June 29, 2012

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