Often a hidden casualty of human contact with one of the 20th century’s most deadly materials, yet secondary asbestos exposure by a wife, child, family member, neighbour or friend continues to inflict the fatal asbestos-related disease of mesothelioma, to this very day.

Legal actions, which have fought cases for mesothelioma compensation , are still not infrequently reported, where workers employed for only a few years in heavy industrial environments, such as power plants, shipyards, railway engineering, pipe fitting, steel erecting and other types of construction industries were exposed daily to asbestos.

The lack of asbestos awareness would, invariably, result in continued exposure to asbestos fibres, which lay hidden, contaminating their work clothing, hair and skin and, consequently, brought back to the family home every day.

It is a regular occurrence that between 35 to 50 years will elapse between exposure to asbestos and diagnosis of mesothelioma or asbestosis. Malignant pleural (lung) mesothelioma is most often diagnosed between ages 40 and 69.

As demonstrated by very many examples of secondary exposure, a large number of mesothelioma patients diagnosed earlier than the age of 40 have a history of asbestos exposure during childhood.

Recent examples of secondary exposure, which affected one or more generations of family members many decades after first contact, are as recent as 2009-10.

A daughter recently died of the aggressive mesothelioma, aged only 62, after breathing in asbestos fibres from her father’s overalls worn daily at his place of work, a power station, in the 1960 and 70s.

Another typical case involves the wife of a Southampton shipyard fitter during the 1960s and 70s, who was exposed to asbestos when cleaning her husband’s asbestos covered overalls and succumbed to mesothelioma, aged 71 years.

The Shipyards have a long history of daily asbestos exposure. A 44 year old grand-daughter of a Plymouth Devonport Dockworker who died from mesothelioma in 2000 aged 86, is herself dying of mesothelioma with only nine months to live, convinced it was a result of inhaling asbestos fibres from her grand-dad’s overalls.