Second-Hand Asbestos Exposure Can Cause Navy Family Members, Whether Husband or Wife, to Develop Asbestos Disease
Until the 1960s, asbestos products were routinely used on U.S. Navy ships, leaving countless Navy vets at risk to develop serious asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma cancer, asbestos-related lung cancer or asbestosis. Tragically, for Navy veterans fortunate to have lived with their families during their active service, it also meant that a wife washing her husband’s uniforms or a child cleaning a dusty car interior also likely breathed in asbestos dust.
For the spouses and families of those who worked in industries where asbestos-containing materials (ACM) were used, one of the most unexpected and devastating consequences to occur is when a family member is diagnosed with an asbestos disease.
Asbestos diseases have a long latency period (the time between exposure and when an illness is first detected). Because this latency period is decades long, the families that suffered secondary exposure may not develop symptoms until 30-40 or more years later.
When our clients first share their asbestos exposure history with us, our attorneys often learn that many men, whether in military service or in a civilian job, remember coming home at the end of the day with their work clothes or uniforms covered in what they now understand was asbestos dust. They also remember that the interior of their car, particularly the front seat and dashboard, would always be dusty.
In both military and civilian families, the stories of everyday life take on an unexpected seriousness when family members develop an asbestos disease caused by secondary exposure to the dangerous carcinogen (cancer causing material).
One of the most common exposure stories involves doing the laundry, and wives often recall shaking dust from their husband’s clothes. In households where wringer washers were used, wives would recall seeing “sludge” in the bottom of the washer after laundering the clothes their husband would wear at work.
Exposure to Asbestos Can Cause Serious Illness Many Years Later
When asbestos is inhaled, the jagged edges on the microscopic asbestos dusts stick to lung tissue. Unlike other irritating substances that are breathed in, asbestos cannot be expelled by coughing, sneezing or blowing ones nose.
The asbestos fibers remain in the lungs, where they can eventually cause lung tissue to scar, which results in chronic diseases like pleural plaque disease or asbestosis. In other cases, the asbestos causes the lungs to produce abnormal cells, which results in the development of lung tumors (lung cancer) and other forms of cancers, such as mesothelioma.
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If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an asbestos illness, contact our lawyers today for a free review of your case. A Weitz & Luxenberg representative will contact you as soon as possible.