A worker at a decommissioned nuclear weapons facility in Washington State might have carried radioactive contamination home with him after his clothes were exposed. The incident happened on May 18th. Politicians in the state are calling on the federal government to expedite the decontamination of the site, a project which has been underway since 1989.
These types of dangerous situations occur routinely across the United States. Thousands of workers are exposed to dangerous chemicals and toxins on the job, often needlessly. The fact that people risk their health going to work is bad enough, but the possibility they could bring the contamination home with them is even worse.
Sadly, this is not the first time workers have carried dangerous substances home on their clothes. There is a long, sordid history of second-hand exposure to dangerous substances. This history includes:
- Coal miners, who exposed their families to carcinogens brought home on their clothes at the end of shift
- Workers in the asbestos manufacturing plants, as asbestos was shown to cling to clothes fibers
- The poisonous fumes from tanneries seeping into the clothing worn by workers
Workplaces should not expose people to dangerous chemicals firsthand if it is at all avoidable. Safety precautions should be established and followed, and there is safety gear for almost any situation. But allowing containment to be broken and dangerous chemicals, carcinogens, or radiation to escape into the general population is even more reckless.
If you or someone you love has suffered due to exposure to a toxic substance, either at work or at home, it is important you trace the source of the exposure. Only by doing so can you decrease the chance anyone else will be exposed. A qualified attorney can help you figure out the source of the contamination, and can help you hold the negligent party accountable for their unsafe practices.