There are three types of asbestos exposure: exposure on the job, exposure through contact with people working with asbestos, and neighborhood exposure in manufacturing facilities.
Occupational exposure or on-the-job exposure is the most common type.
The second type, paraoccupational, occurs when asbestos fibers are brought into the home by someone exposed to asbestos at work. Family members are often exposed to asbestos dust from the worker’s clothing. Although they are often exposed to smaller amounts of asbestos, family members are still very much at risk.
Lastly is neighborhood exposure. Although this type of exposure is more indirect, it poses a risk for those who have homes or jobs near facilities that use asbestos. Asbestos dust can be easily carried through the air to cover surrounding areas. Refineries, steel mills, and building demolition sites are types of worksites that in the past have been known to cause neighborhood exposure.
Studies reveal that the standard air handling systems used within production facilities cannot remove extremely thin asbestos fibers from the air.
In addition, air currents can carry asbestos fibers, which are extremely light, throughout open building areas. This results in contamination of workers.
One study went so far as to measure fiber distribution from a construction site. The study revealed that asbestos fibers traveled for one-half mile,( though the concentration of fibers was diminished due to the mixing with clean air.)
The effects of exposure to any of these types may be felt as early as one week later or decades down the road.
If you have any concerns about asbestos exposure, please contact your doctor. For any additional information, feel free to contact Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford.