Thursday, February 15, 2007

Asbestos Related Cancer From Hugging?

LONDON: A British woman who claims she contracted cancer from hugging her father, who worked with asbestos, is suing the Ministry of Defence for 75,000 pounds (US$146,000, €111,000).

Brewer's father worked at a dockyard in Plymouth for five years during the 1960s, and died from asbestos-related lung cancer last year. Brewer's only known exposure to asbestos was in childhood — from playing with her father, who frequently came home coated in asbestos dust.

From the time of asbestos exposure to the onset of lung cancer symptoms, which include respiratory problems and chest pain, there is typically an interval of about three decades.

Most people accept the science behind second hand smoke, so it wouldn't be difficult to see how breathing in asbestos fiber off a relative's clothing could have dire health consequences. Just as viruses are spread through contact with others, so too are chemicals and toxins that have more than just a primary victim.

When Cherobyl went up, detectable radiation was blown into the Balkins and Scandanavian countries. When we dump toxic waste on one parcel of land, it's a crime against those who injest it as it seeps into their water supply. Many of the chemicals that we are breathing even if stopped being produced today will have impact on those not born yet.

Expect a new breed of lawsuits to follow this one.