As many as 90% of all mesothelioma victims have a history of job-related asbestos exposure. The remaining 10-30% (depending upon which statistics you read) are people who have been exposed in one of a very few other ways. One risk of exposure for wives and household members came from close contact with the worker, such as giving a hug when they came home, or shaking out clothing while doing laundry, sending fibers airborne. The attorneys at Brown | Kiely, LLP, LLC list several common job sites known for asbestos exposure.
Rarely is mesothelioma found in patients without a history of asbestos exposure, but there are two other suspected causes. One is having received a polio vaccine contaminated with the SV40 virus, and another is the result of having received thorium dioxide (Thorotrast) once used as contrast material for x-rays. Thorium dioxide appears to make people more susceptible to developing mesothelioma rather than being a direct cause.
Others with an increased risk for developing mesothelioma are those who work in current industries that still use asbestos. These include construction, demolition, shipbuilding, cement factories, railroad workers, and many more trades people. People exposed to the dust from renovation, reconstruction, demolition and construction sites, or who work for manufacturers who have not implemented proper safeguards and protective equipment are at higher risk.
Another risk to consumers is from using vermiculite for gardening. This risk of exposure can be reduced or eliminated by dampening the vermiculite before using it to keep the dust from becoming airborne. Vermiculite is not a danger itself, but it comes from mines that are contaminated with asbestos and may contain fibers. The EPA recommends using and storing vermiculite outdoors and in well-ventilated areas.
The risk increases as exposure increases, either in quantity or time. Although some people with only brief exposure have developed mesothelioma, this is very rare.
Whether or not you have a history of working with asbestos, if you have a diagnosis of mesothelioma, you may be entitled to damages. For a free evaluation of your claim by mesothelioma attorneys experienced in obtaining settlements for their clients, please contact Brown | Kiely, LLP, serving Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, D.C.