Asbestos in Homes - How Exposure Occurs

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Exposure to Asbestos in Homes

Unfortunately, with over 5,000 products containing asbestos, asbestos exposure in homes is not uncommon. Even small amounts of asbestos and infrequent exposure can cause mesothelioma. The dangers of asbestos in the home and the risks of developing mesothelioma generally occur due to home renovation or repair work in the home (first hand exposure) or contact with individuals working with asbestos (second hand exposure).

Asbestos fibers are so toxic, that families may be exposed to mesothelioma through particles that cling to workers’ clothing, shoes, skin and hair. This type of “second-hand” exposure to asbestos is known as para-occupational exposure.

asbestos insulation in roofAsbestos exposure in the home could have occurred when renovation or repair work was performed. The majority of building products manufactured today do not contain asbestos, however those frequently used prior to 1980 do carry exposure risks. Products such as joint compounds, wallboards, gaskets, fireproofing, caulk, pipe covering, cements, floor tiles, ceiling tiles and boiler insulation often contained asbestos. If these products were mixed, grinded, cut, sawed, sprayed, removed or otherwise manipulated, banged or damaged, they could have released significant asbestos fibers into your home. The inhalation of these airborne fibers can create the risk of developing mesothelioma, even 15-60 years later.

There have been reported cases of family members developing mesothelioma due to contact with asbestos fibers carried home by workers. Workers handling asbestos today must change clothes prior to leaving the workplace, but this was not always the case. Asbestos dust on boots and clothing carried the fibers home, exposing wives and children to asbestos. While mesothelioma is often diagnosed in those with first hand exposure, there have been many reported incidents where family members with second-hand asbestos exposure have developed mesothelioma.