Many workers are completely unaware of chemicals that create potential hazards in their work environment making them more vulnerable to toxic exposure and serious health complications including illnesses. Millions of workers in the United States are unwittingly exposed to toxic chemicals and fumes on a regular basis at their workplaces. However, they may not learn about the effects of these toxins until it is too late. If you have suffered serious or irreversible side effects as a result of toxic exposure at the workplace, you may be eligible to file a toxic exposure workers compensation claim.
There may even be circumstances under which you may be able to file a third-party claim against a party other than the employer whose negligence may have caused or contributed to the toxic exposure and your illness. The experienced workers compensation attorneys at the ODG Law Group have a long and successful track record of fighting for the rights of injured workers and their families. Their experienced staff have the resources needed to help you file a successful claim. Call us at 818-230-2428 to find out how we can help you.
Types of Toxic Exposure
Toxic chemicals that are present in the workplace could be one of a multitude of substances that are known to cause illnesses or even deaths when employees are exposed to them. Most if not all forms of chemical and toxic exposures are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Also, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) maintains a safe level of exposure for toxins and chemicals found in most productions, which employers must follow.
Here are some of the common chemicals that give rise to toxic exposure cases:
Asbestos: The health effects of asbestos on human health are well documented. This is particularly true of long-term exposure to asbestos. Asbestos fibers are easily inhaled and carried into the lower regions of the lung where they can cause a condition known as asbestosis. Asbestos fibers can also cause changes in the lining of the chest cavity. These diseases can lead to decreased respiratory function or even death. Long-term inhalation of asbestos fibers increases the risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma.
The human health effects from long-term unsafe asbestos exposure are well documented. Asbestos fibers are easily inhaled and carried into the lower regions of the lung where they can cause fibrotic lung disease (asbestosis) and changes in the lining of the chest cavity (pleura). These diseases can lead to decreased respiratory function and death. Long-term inhalation of asbestos fibers also increases the risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma, a cancer that forms along the lining of the heart, lungs or stomach. People who are exposed to high concentrations of asbestos for long periods of time more frequently are at risk for serious illnesses.
Benzene: This chemical occurs as a natural by-product of certain types of manufacturing. Benzene is a colorless liquid, which gives off a sweet smelling aroma, when it vaporizes. It is most commonly found in factories that manufacture or produce crude oil, resins, gasoline and plastics. It is a highly toxic chemical and a known human carcinogen. When exposed for a longer period of time, workers may suffer a number of health issues. Long-term exposure to benzene can result in problems that can affect the tissue responsible for producing blood cells, known as the bone marrow.
Some of the problems that can develop include excessive bleeding, immune system deficiencies and aplastic anemia. Benzene has been classed as a Group A carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency. Those exposed to benzene regularly in high doses, particularly those who are exposed to it at work, are at risk. Benzene is linked with increased risk of leukemia. Women who have been exposed to benzene at work have been found to suffer a decrease in the size of ovaries and experience menstrual problems. High levels of benzene exposure could also affect fertility in women.
Lead: Lead enters the body primarily through ingestion and inhalation. Workers are mainly exposed to lead by breathing in dust and fumes that contains lead. Construction workers are particularly exposed to lead. Lead passes through the lungs into the blood where it can harm vital organs. Workers may develop a variety of problems including neurological issues, gastrointestinal effects, anemia, kidney disease and even brain damage.
OSHA estimates that about 804,000 workers in general industry and an additional 838,000 workers in construction are potentially exposed to lead each year. Construction workers are exposed to lead during the removal, renovation or demolition of structures painted with lead pigments. Workers may also be exposed as they install, maintain or demolish lead pipes and fittings.
Silica: Also known as quartz dust, silica is a naturally forming mineral, which is present all over the earth. But, when it is ground to a fine powder, the dust can get into workers’ lungs and cause serious health ailments. These dust particles can penetrate deep into the lungs and cause disabling and sometimes fatal lung diseases, including silicosis and lung cancer, as well as kidney disease. OSHA estimates that more than 2.3 million workers in the United States are potentially exposed to dust containing crystalline silica with nearly 90 percent of those workers employed in the construction industry. Exposure to silica at work can occur when cutting, sawing, drilling and crushing of concrete, brick, ceramic, rock or stone products.
Need Help With Your Toxic Exposure Workers Compensation Claim? We’re Here For You
Before you start you may want to know how to file a workers comp claim. If you believe you may have a workers’ compensation claim due to toxic exposure at work, the first thing you need to do is talk to your doctor. Your doctor, after conducting an evaluation may refer you to a specialist who is trained in assessing workplace toxic exposures. If you are diagnosed with an illness due to toxic exposure at work, contact your employer immediately. Your employer should provide with the forms necessary to file a workers’ compensation claim. Your employer should also work with you to come up with a plan to eliminate or limit your workplace exposure to the toxic chemicals.
It is also important that you contact an experienced Los Angeles work injury attorney, who can begin gathering evidence to establish the link between your illness and the workplace toxic exposure. The experienced and knowledgeable California workers’ compensation attorneys at the ODG Law Group have the access to experts who can help bolster your case. We can help you get the treatment and care you need and monetary support for your losses. Contact us at 818-230-2428 for a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation.