Most people who suffer from mesothelioma and other asbestos-related medical conditions were exposed as adults. However, children who are exposed to asbestos fibers are particularly vulnerable to developing these illnesses. It’s been estimated that children are five times as likely as adults to develop mesothelioma when the amount and duration of exposure are the same.
Children are more likely to breathe in a dangerous amount of asbestos for a number of reasons. Their lungs, which are still developing, are more compact. They breathe more quickly, so they can breathe in more fibers if they’re exposed to them. Young children often put their hands in their mouths, so if there is asbestos dust on them, they’re taking it in that way.
How are children exposed to asbestos?
While many people consider asbestos a thing of the past, it’s not. It’s still in old houses – primarily in those built between the 1940s and 1980s. While simply living in an older residence won’t expose you to asbestos, if the home is damaged or renovated, the asbestos needs to be properly removed to avoid dangerous exposure.
The same is true in schools. While many older school buildings have had their asbestos removed, it can still be present in everything from pipelines to roofs. Asbestos has even been discovered in children’s toys and crayons as well as make-up kits marketed to preteen girls.
Adults are suffering today because of second-hand exposure as children
Some people who are adults today were exposed to a dangerous amount of asbestos as children because they had a parent who worked with asbestos in a time when the safety precautions used today weren’t in place for workers. Those who worked in construction, mining, shipbuilding, car repair and other lines of work where they were regularly around asbestos could bring it home on their shoes, clothing and hair.
One Louisiana woman filed a lawsuit in 2016 filed a lawsuit against a company that purchased her father’s former employer. She asserted that she developed mesothelioma from second-hand asbestos exposure via her father’s work clothes.
By understanding the added risks that children face from asbestos exposure and how they can still be exposed to it, you can be better prepared to take legal action if you or a loved one is suffering from an asbestos-related condition.