Secondary asbestos exposure increases risk of mesothelioma, study says

16 May 2017 by Sarah Mahan under Research/Treatment

workers at WTC 100x100 Secondary asbestos exposure increases risk of mesothelioma, study says Household or secondary asbestos exposure occurs when the family members of a worker who is exposed to asbestos are also exposed to the known human carcinogen through clothing or other materials used on the job. While the law’s application to secondary asbestos exposure is still under debate, new research is suggesting household exposure does indeed have an effect on family members’ health, particularly female members.

A new Italian study analyzed 1,063 cases diagnosed from 1995 to 2014 using information and demographic data compiled in an occupational medical standardized questionnaire/interview found in the Friuli Venezia Giulia Register. The study hoped to examine “the features of pleural mesothelioma attributable only to asbestos brought home by another family member” in order to better understand secondary asbestos exposure.

Researchers found household exposure-related cases included 33 women and two men, with the majority of the women being the wives of workers exposed to asbestos. Most workers were exposed in shipyards. “Our data confirms that household exposure increases the risk for pleural mesothelioma amongst women with no history of occupational asbestos exposure,” the study concludes. “This is an ongoing problem in many countries, as well as in Italy, where the evaluation of a framework for the compensation of these cases is under debate.”

In the United States, secondary exposure cases are just beginning to be recognized in certain state courts. In December 2016, the California Supreme Court ruled to allow secondhand exposure lawsuits against employers filed on behalf of family members, and in March, Arizona’s Supreme Court agreed to hear a similar case.

 

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