Some people may not realize that you don’t have to work in an occupation with asbestos products to be exposed to it. You could be at risk for “take home” asbestos exposure. This is when asbestos dust gets on a worker’s clothes and/or skin. [Click to Tweet] When they leave to go home, so does the dust, which exposes their spouses, children and other immediate family members. In some cases, children have developed mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases later on in life because they hugged their parents.
Several of our clients were exposed to asbestos because they shook the dust off their husband’s work clothes before putting them in the washing machine, or hugged their dad when he came home from work.
There are steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from take home exposure, especially if you are the one working in an occupation that may come into contact with asbestos (construction, machining, firefighting, automotive services, etc.) Below are tips for reducing asbestos contamination at home from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Use proper safety precautions to reduce exposure. Always wear protective gear and do not bring the protective gear home with you.
- If you think you might have been exposed, change your clothes before leaving work, and always leave your soiled clothes at work.
- Keep your everyday, non-work clothes away from your work clothes.
- If you can, shower before leaving work to wash any contamination from your skin.
- Do not take tools, scraps, materials, packaging or other items home with you if they have been near asbestos.
- Wash your work clothes separate from your everyday clothes. Never mix the two.
- Don’t let your family members visit you at work if there may be asbestos.
Preventing take home asbestos exposure is always best. Decontamination may not always be effective, and any amount of asbestos exposure can be dangerous. [Click to Tweet] Additionally, decontamination can disturb the asbestos fibers, disperse them into the air and be inhaled, where they can become lodged in the lungs and cause mesothelioma.