Occupational Exposure

One of the most insidious occupational injuries involves exposure to hazardous chemicals or other toxic materials. Workers may sustain chronic, life-threatening injuries when they are exposed to dangerous substances while on the job. Usually these deadly chemicals are undetectable – they may be invisible or odorless. But their effects can be devastating.

Workers may experience loss of mobility, eyesight, taste and smell, and/or develop chronic lung disease. They also may be killed on the job as a result of this type of exposure.

Toxic exposure resulting in severe injuries or death may take the form of either a significant, one-time release of a dangerous chemical or other toxic substance, or prolonged long-term exposure to chemicals or substances. Workers may be exposed to these substances either by inhaling them, or if they come into contact with the skin.

One-time Release

Sometimes, accidents or product defects on the job site cause a one-time or short-term exposure to a very high concentration of chemicals or toxic substances that can cause severe, often irreversible injuries. These injuries may include death or permanent diminishment or loss of eyesight, lung function, taste, smell, or mobility. Chemicals most often associated with this category of injury are:

  • Chlorine and chlorine gas
  • Ammonia
  • Acrylonitrile
  • Formaldehyde
  • Vinyl Acetate
  • Petroleum Hydrocarbons in the oil field industry
  • High concentrate acids

Chronic Exposure

These cases are the unfortunate consequence of exposure to hazardous chemicals and/or the failure of critical safety devices that may result in long-term exposure to toxic substances. While consumers can certainly be at risk, workers are most often exposed to toxic substances on the job that ultimately lead to a devastating illness. Severe lung diseases and cancer are of particular concern. Some of these illnesses include:

  • Mesothelioma – resulting from exposure to asbestos
  • Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) or Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) – a result of benzene or formaldehyde exposure
  • Berylliosis or Chronic Beryllium Disease – caused by exposure to products containing beryllium
  • Bronchiolitis Obliterans (“Popcorn Lung”) – caused by exposure to Diacetyl, or chemicals associated with Diacetyl, including alpha-diketone, 2,3-butanedione, or Chemical Abstracts Service Number 431-0308. The dreadful disease can also be caused by exposure to fiberglass and/or styrene during the manufacturing process
  • Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (NHL) – caused by exposure to Glyphosate (the active ingredient in the Roundup Herbicide)
  • Coal Worker’s Pneumoconiosis (“Black Lung”) – caused by exposure to coal dust
  • Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis (HP) – general category of interstitial lung diseases caused by an immune response to an inhaled substance, including diacetyl, mold, dust, and wood
  • Kidney Cancer – caused by exposure to Trichloroethylene or TCE
  • Lead – high levels of lead exposure can cause a number of serious, permanent injuries, particularly in children, who can suffer irreversible brain damage

What Can I Do?

If you or a loved one has suffered a devastating occupational injury that you feel could be linked to exposure to hazardous and toxic substances on the job, we would like to talk to you. Fill out the consultation form on this page for a free, no-obligation review of your case, or call us toll-free at +800-898-2034.

 

Occupational Injury Statistics

BLS_US_fatalities_by_industry_2010
 
BLS_US_fatal_injuries_by_occupation_2010