How Dangerous is Secondhand Asbestos Exposure?

Posted on June 21, 2021

secondhand asbestos exposure dangerThousands of people in the U.S. die each year from asbestos-related diseases caused by exposure to toxic asbestos fibers. Most mesothelioma cases are the result of primary asbestos exposure in the workplace. However, other victims of this incurable disease may develop it due to secondhand or secondary asbestos exposure, which can be just as dangerous as primary asbestos exposure.

If you or someone you care about has developed mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease from secondhand asbestos exposure, you may be eligible to seek compensation for your losses.

Our attorneys at PWHD further discuss secondhand asbestos exposure in greater detail, including people most at-risk, the sources that may lead to exposure, and how liability is established in these cases. Learn more about your available legal options during a risk-free, zero-obligation consultation.

Talk to a lawyer today. Call 1-800-459-1881.

Understanding Secondhand Asbestos Exposure

Secondhand asbestos exposure is an indirect form of exposure to asbestos that can cause mesothelioma. It can happen when a worker unknowingly carries home asbestos fibers on his or her hair, skin, clothing, and tools, potentially exposing his or her loved ones to this deadly toxin. Much like primary asbestos exposure, it can take years for a person to develop an asbestos-related disease from secondhand asbestos exposure.

Surprisingly, the U.S. has yet to ban the use of asbestos.

Common Sources That May Lead to Exposure

Asbestos is dangerous. Asbestos fibers are so small that they can stick to items, and they can remain airborne for long periods after being initially disturbed.

If these toxic fibers become airborne, they can be inhaled. These fibers are also so small that they can travel deep into the lungs, get stuck in the lung tissue, or be passed out of the lung tissue to other parts of the body (translocated), causing serious health issues.

Any worker in contact with asbestos without the necessary safeguards and control measures may can carry these fibers from the workplace into the home and expose a family member. Common sources that may lead to secondhand asbestos exposure include:


Workers who use asbestos-containing products can bring home clothing contaminated with asbestos fibers. Anyone handling or washing these work clothes has a risk of breathing in this deadly toxin.


Workers who do not change out of their asbestos-contaminated clothing before going home can contaminate the furniture in their home. Asbestos fibers can become embedded into the couch, chairs, carpet and bed. Other people who reside in the same home can come in contact with these toxic fibers.


Workers who do not shower or change into clean clothes before leaving the workplace can also contaminate the inside of their vehicle. Asbestos fibers can adhere to the seats or floorboard. Anyone who rides in the vehicle is potentially at risk of asbestos exposure.

Physical Contact

Workers who unknowingly come home with asbestos fibers on their body may expose anyone they greet, hug, or get close to. Some secondhand asbestos exposure cases reported over the decades have been the result of physical contact, such as children sitting on their father’s or grandfather’s lap.

Those Most at Risk of Secondhand Exposure

Before stricter regulations were put in place, it was common for workers to bring home asbestos dust and fibers, not realizing they were exposing anyone who lived with them. Repeated, long-term, secondhand asbestos exposure has led to mesothelioma for many workers’ spouses and children who helped with household chores or were otherwise exposed to asbestos fibers at home.

Liability in a Secondhand Asbestos Exposure Case

Anyone diagnosed with mesothelioma from secondhand asbestos exposure may have a legal claim to recover compensation for the damages they have sustained. Due to the complex nature of these cases, working with an experienced lawyer is essential to pursue the maximum compensation possible and get the justice needed. A lawyer can conduct a detailed investigation into the work history of the person who was exposed to asbestos on the job.

An Initial Consultation is Free and Confidential

Determining liability in cases of secondary asbestos exposure is no easy task. Fortunately, a Hampton Roads-based asbestos injury lawyer is here to help. Our firm has over 45 years of experience advocating for victims of asbestos exposure and a proven track record of success, recovering billions on their behalf.

We offer a free consultation to talk to one of our lawyers about your potential case. There are also no upfront fees to retain our services and no fees while we investigate and work on a case.

PWHD. Legal Help You Can Trust. 1-800-459-1881.
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