Mesothelioma in household members of asbestos-exposed workers: 32 United States cases since 1990

Am J Ind Med. 2005 May;47(5):458-62. doi: 10.1002/ajim.20167.

Abstract

Background: Mesothelioma is significant as an indicator of asbestos exposure, as a continuing major cause of death in those exposed, and as a risk following lesser exposures. One such exposure is living in the household of an asbestos worker, and coming into contact with fibers brought home on his/her body, clothing, etc.

Methods: Law firms throughout the US known for their pursuit of asbestos claims were polled for mesothelioma claims brought on behalf of family members of identifiable asbestos-exposed workers. Cases with any occupational, environmental, or other possible exposure were not included.

Results: This study reports 32 household-exposure mesothelioma cases, diagnosed since 1990. Relationships were wife (15), daughter (11), son (3), sister-in law (1), niece (1), and boarder (1). Occupations of the workers included shipyard (13), insulator (7), and other (12). Of the 27 pleural cases, 13 were epithelial, 5 fibrous, 3 biphasic, and 6 not specified; of the 5 peritoneal cases, 4 were epithelial and 1 fibrous. Latency was greater than 40 years in 27 cases; 6 cases were 40-49 years of age and 17 were 60 or older.

Conclusions: Records from law firms were a useful source of information. Mesothelioma resulting from household exposure is a continuing problem. It is more likely to present in the elderly, after latencies of >40 years.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / adverse effects*
  • Asbestos / toxicity*
  • Child
  • Clothing
  • Family Characteristics
  • Family Health*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inhalation Exposure / adverse effects
  • Laundering
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Male
  • Medical Records
  • Mesothelioma / epidemiology
  • Mesothelioma / etiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nuclear Family
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Occupational Exposure / statistics & numerical data
  • Time Factors
  • United States / epidemiology

Substances

  • Asbestos