Women and Mesothelioma

Women and Mesothelioma

Women and Mesothelioma

Asbestos exposure is the only cause of mesothelioma. This mineral was widely used in construction, shipbuilding, and automobiles. Anyone who worked in an asbestos-containing industry may have been exposed and later diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Throughout history, there are several ways women have been exposed to asbestos:

  • Direct exposure at work: Women who worked in asbestos-containing industries faced the same risks as men.
  • Secondhand exposure: Asbestos workers frequently brought the fibers home with them on their clothing and in their hair, causing secondary exposure to take place with their family. Asbestos-related diseases (ARDs) such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer, among others, are more common in men exposed to toxins at work. According to studies, approximately half of all women diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma were exposed to asbestos at home by relatives.
  • Exposure to Asbestos from Household Products: Women were and continue to be exposed to asbestos through household products and appliances. Heat-related objects or household components could all contain asbestos. The majority of these common household items were made with asbestos to protect them from fires. Here are some examples of such appliances/items:
      • Ovens
      • Toasters
      • Electrical sockets
      • Hairdryers
      • Oven Mitts
      • Coffee Pots
      • Irons

    Throughout the twentieth century, women were the primary caregivers in the home. Many of these items were often used to make food, clean clothes, do the dishes, and complete other chores that involve asbestos exposure.

  • Schools: Many women were directly exposed while teaching because older school buildings frequently contained asbestos insulation and other materials.

Mesothelioma Survival in Women
Since women typically have less occupational asbestos exposure than men, there are far less women than men diagnosed with mesothelioma annually. While overall survival of mesothelioma depends on the initial diagnosis and subsequent treatment, studies have shown women tend to live a bit longer with the disease. However, median survival for the more common pleural mesothelioma is only about a year and a half.

Helping Mesothelioma Patients
If you have developed disease or cancer as a result of asbestos exposure, regardless of your gender, you should contact Goldberg, Persky & White P.C. right away. You may be entitled to financial compensation.


Blackley David, Mazurek Jacek, Weissman David “Malignant Mesothelioma Mortality in Women — United States, 1999–2020” Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2022) [Link]
“Mesothelioma” Brigham and Women’s Hospital [Link]
Moffatt E.J, Oury T.D, Rogglie V.L. “Malignant mesothelioma in women” [Link]

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