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Secondary Exposure

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Through 2003, more than 700,000 People have filed claims against more than 6,000 Asbestos companies. These same companies knew of the dangers for many years before ever warning the public of those risks.

Victims of Secondary Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos causes cancer, including Mesothelioma , in Americans exposed to the hazardous material while working in steel mills, shipyards, power plants, construction sites, industrial plants.The symptoms of Mesothelioma or other asbestos-related cancers may not appear for 20, 30, or even 40 or more years after the exposure occurred. At least 90,000 American workers have slowly suffocated as a result of asbestos-related cancer. Additionally, asbestos is also causing cancer in those who were exposed secondarily through the worker or to the worker's clothing. This is termed "secondary exposure". Those most likely affected are the spouses and children of exposed workers. Very few Mesothelioma patients live longer than one year after symptoms occur.

Secondary Asbestos Exposure Lawsuit Sees $11.5 Million Verdict

January 29, 2003

A jury recently awarded $11.5 million to a woman who developed a rare lung cancer from washing her husband's asbestos-riddled work clothing. In October 2001, Genevieve Gunderson, 75, was diagnosed with mesothelioma , an incurable cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. From 1948 to 1963, Gunderson's ex-husband worked as a pipe fitter at numerous industrial sites throughout Southern . Plaintiff attorneys argued that during that period, pipe fitters regularly worked near asbestos-laden insulation, which Gunderson would have been exposed to from handling her husband's work clothes. Asbestos-related diseases can remain latent for up to 40 years.

Gunderson, who has two months to live, filed suit against 40 defendants, all of which settled except for Unocal Corp. Unocal argued that the industry had no way of knowing people could get cancer from secondary exposure to asbestos on clothes during the 1950s. Plaintiff attorneys, however, presented documents citing state and federal hygiene regulations that required employers to provide changing rooms and separate laundry facilities for employees due to "hazardous dust."

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