Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was once highly prized for its insulation and flame resistant qualities. Unfortunately this mineral is also a known carcinogen, and it has been banned from construction use in the US since the 1970s. Prolonged exposure to asbestos has been known to cause mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis; but a person does not have to come into direct contact with the mineral in order to suffer from its dire effects. Secondhand asbestos exposure can be just as deadly.
Secondhand Asbestos Exposure
Throughout much of the 20th century, asbestos was widely used in construction. It was especially used in construction of facilities that operated with extreme heat; such as chemical factories, metal factories, and oil refineries. Every day those who worked in these buildings were subjected to asbestos exposure, breathing in the deadly particles. Even after it was known that asbestos exposure was deadly, some companies did not take the proper precautions to ensure the safety of their workers. But not only the workers were at risk; their families were as well.
In 1979, after asbestos had been banned in all new construction, Amanda Satterfields dad worked in an Alcoa aluminum plant. Every day at work Mr. Satterfield was subjected to asbestos exposure. After Amandas premature birth she was placed into the NICU in order to let her lungs continue to develop under the close supervision of the doctors. Each day after work Amandas dad would visit his new daughter at the hospital. After being exposed to asbestos all day on the job, Mr. Satterfield would unknowingly transfer those particles to the hospital, where Amanda inhaled them into her under-developed lungs. After a lifelong battle with mesothelioma, Amanda passed away from complications at the age of 25.
Amandas story is the most prominent, but by no means the only one. She was an unknowing victim of secondhand asbestos exposure, something that could have been prevented had Alcoa taken the proper steps to protect their employees.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
If you, or someone you love, have suffered from asbestos exposure, either firsthand or secondhand, you should contact a personal injury attorney right away. Exposure takes decades to manifest itself as health problems, but despite the time lapse it is important that the company that put you at risk be held responsible. You may be able to take part in an asbestos lawsuit.