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Woman sues for mesothelioma from contact with husband's clothes

If you thought that mesothelioma and asbestos-related illnesses were largely in the past, you may be surprised to learn that new claims are filed all the time. For example, a Mississippi woman recently filed suit against her husband's former employers and insurance companies, claiming she developed mesothelioma after handling his asbestos-laden work clothes.

Although press reports don't detail her claims or the precise events that led her to believe two of her husband's former employers exposed the couple to asbestos, she is suing Alma Plantation LLC, a sugar plantation, and insulation manufacturer Anco Products, Inc., both based in Louisiana. She claims they failed to provide appropriate safety equipment and ventilation to minimize their employees' exposure to asbestos or other hazardous materials.

She is also suing several insurance companies, accusing them and the manufacturers of knowing that even second-hand contact with the materials could cause cancer but failing to warn employees and their families of the danger. Asbestos dust carried home on workers' clothing was present in high enough concentrations that household members who came in contact with the clothes, such as by washing them, often inhaled the dust. When they did, they were put at risk of developing mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness later on. Sadly, all too often that risk did play out into a deadly illness.

It's unclear whether the woman's husband himself developed mesothelioma, but it isn't actually relevant to her claim if he did not. While only a minority of those exposed to asbestos end up developing mesothelioma, some people are known to be more susceptible than others, perhaps due to a genetic risk.

Tragically, the symptoms of malignant mesothelioma typically don't appear for 35 to 50 years after exposure, according to the American Lung Association. Worse, the deadly disease often goes undetected until it is too advanced to cure.

The Mississippi woman is seeking compensation for her medical and rehabilitation expenses, the disabilities caused by the disease, loss of earning capacity, and the pain and suffering now has to endure.

Source: The Louisiana Record, "Alma Plantation accused of causing woman's mesothelioma through second hand exposure," Kyle Barnett, May 17, 2013

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