Workers Unwittingly Take Home Toxins

Stephanie Armour, USA Today.

Special Report

Marjorie Stilphen, a 50-year-old grandmother in Bath, Maine, says more efforts are needed to make employees and family members aware of the dangers. Stilphen, who has terminal mesothelioma (a cancer of the lining of the chest), says she is suffering today because of exposure to asbestos carried home from the workplace.

Her husband and father both came into contact with the substance while working at Bath Iron Works, according to a 1988 lawsuit. The family filed a lawsuit against the company and a number of firms that had manufactured or supplied asbestos products to them. Some aspects of the lawsuit have been settled out of court for an undisclosed sum, but others are pending court officials say. A spokeswoman for Bath Iron Works, which designs and builds naval ships, declined to comment.

"I was dumbstruck," Marjorie says of her diagnosis. "It's not something I had expected. To me, there was only one place I could have gotten it."

Adds Calence, her husband: "The whole issue of take-home toxins doesn't get enough education. Workers aren't generally aware of the concerns of bringing it home. There are a lot of good rules out there, but companies don't do a good enough job of following them. People need to know."

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