Your Neighborhood

Secondary Exposure & Your Neighborhood

Your neighborhood or home could be contaminated from asbestos even though no one who lives in it has a thing to do with asbestos and you haven’t a single asbestos product under your roof.

This can happen if you live near an asbestos mining operation or a facility where asbestos products are made, stored or used in mass quantities.

Whole Communities Can Be Affected

Secondary exposure of this type can be a problem for your entire town.  Asbestos dust can blanket whole neighborhoods.  The normal activities that take place at these plants can kick up lots of outdoor asbestos dust.

The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine explains that neighborhoods become exposed when wind carries asbestos dust from a mine or industrial site.  The wind deposits particles through open windows, doors and vents in homes some distance away.

affected neighborhood
A study cited by the journal determined that you face secondary exposure risk if you live closer than 1.3 miles from an asbestos mine or factory.  
However, the journal faulted that study for not considering that the distance of exposure danger could be farther, depending on a number of variables.  One variable would be the practice of transporting raw or finished asbestos through the area aboard unenclosed trucks and in unsealed containers.

Some wind-blown asbestos dust lands in lakes and reservoirs that supply drinking water.  A town’s water supply can also become contaminated if the dust lands on roofs.  When it rains, the asbestos fibers are carried off the roofs.  They become part of the runoff that flows into creeks and streams that feed into the rivers, lakes and reservoirs from which the community’s drinking water is taken.

Secondary exposure can also occur if a neighborhood is built in a place where asbestos is naturally present in the ground, the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine cautioned.  It said too that some communities near asbestos mines have accepted tons of excavated earth for use as backfill to help create sidewalks, streets, school playgrounds, and home foundation pads.  Often, this dirt is contaminated.

asbestos mine

Sometimes, the buildings where your children go to school or you work have been contaminated by secondary exposure.  This exposure may occur even if you home is not near an asbestos-related facility.

If You Think You’ve Been Exposed

If you suspect neighborhood secondary exposure risk and you think may have been affected by it, contact your doctor immediately. You can also contact our patient support center to discuss your situation.