How do You Determine Where You Were Exposed to Asbestos?

Imagine that someone in your family has been diagnosed with mesothelioma and you’re trying to figure out all the ways that they could have been exposed to asbestos during the course of their life but how do you figure all that out?

Hi, I’m a mesothelioma trial attorney in New York City and I can tell you that the primary way of unlocking all this information is through a very detailed occupational exposure history. And what the basically means is that the patient — the victim, the mesothelioma victim — has in their mind all the ways that they could have been exposed to asbestos and we just need to talk it out and sit with them and talk about all the types of exposures they could have had. We review every job they ever had. And some jobs that a victim of mesothelioma thinks are inconsequential or brief; they may be the most important.

Some jobs that they think are very causative of mesothelioma they may not be the most important. But we walk through this entire process — through their youth as a child up until the present day and every job and every possible exposure they could have had. So in order to do that what do we do?

Well, we talk about the first job they ever had. There are a lot of materials that could have asbestos fibers in their composition: asbestos floor tiles, asbestos roof, etc.

Sometimes clients tell me, “Well as a kid I had a paper route. Well that couldn’t have exposed me to asbestos.” And I agree. But then we talk about some other things that they did as a young man or woman that may be relevant to the exposure history as it relates to asbestos. And we go through what they did at all these jobs and we do this in a relatively stress free way because it’s important to recognize that a person with mesothelioma is suffering. And the last thing we want to do is stress them with a legal case; we make this as simple as we possibly can.

We talk about those occupational exposures and we also talk about potential environmental exposures. Did they live near a manufacturing plant that was manufacturing products using asbestos? Perhaps there was dust from that manufacturing process that caused them to be exposed to asbestos. That could be another exposure. We talk about potential household exposures. Well, what did this mesothelioma victim’s parents or family members do for a living? Perhaps there’s some sort of asbestos exposure there.

Did the victim’s father work in an industry and bring asbestos home on their clothes? That’s another possible asbestos exposure. But what I can tell you about this part of the process is — this workup, the investigation — is that it is very thorough. And it’s important to be extremely thorough while at the same time not causing stress to the victim and to their families. And I know all this because this is what we do every day. I and at our office we represent mesothelioma victims every day. And I’m sure you have more questions; we can answer those questions. Thank you.

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