4 Dangerous Substances You Could Be Exposed to At Work

Categories: Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law. | August 6, 2018

Lead is an extremely toxic metal. Lead poisoning is especially dangerous for workers as symptoms may not appear until dangerous levels of lead have already accumulated in the body. A worker may end up inhaling or ingesting lead for a long period of time before noticing any symptoms at all. Exposure to lead can cause permanent damage to nearly every system of the body. Lead travels through the lungs to the blood and then to all the body’s organs. This can result in brain damage, impaired kidneys, vision problems, and other ailments. There are certain industries in which workers are more likely to encounter toxic lead exposure on the job, including auto repair, battery manufacturing, construction, mining, painting, and demolition.

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive type of cancer that affects the lining that protects the lungs, abdomen, and heart. The only known cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. For a good portion of US industrial history, asbestos was one of the most commonly used materials in the construction and manufacturing industries. This helps explain why asbestos exposure is one of the largest causes of occupational deaths and related costs in the United States. Mesothelioma symptoms do not generally appear until decades after the exposure has occurred.

Silica, which you may also know as quartz, is a mineral commonly found at construction sites. Silica shows up in soil, concrete, rocks, sand. When silica is cut, the resulting particles can be 100 times smaller than sand. The dust, which is nearly invisible to the naked eye, can easily enter a worker’s lungs. These tiny particles can cause immense damage including respiratory disorders, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and kidney failure. Exposure to high enough levels of silica can cause silicosis, which can lead to significant scar tissue and buildup in the lungs. Often the diseases caused by silica take years to show up. Many workers don’t even realize that they have been breathing it.

Pesticides are used widely by workers in farming, landscaping, and gardening industries. Employees in retail and office settings can also be exposed to these toxic chemicals when insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides are sprayed in the workplace. Exposure to pesticides can cause workers to suffer occupational illnesses and serious long-term disabilities.

If you have developed an illness from exposure to dangerous substances at your job, you are entitled to benefits under Illinois workers’ compensation laws. It is important to contact an experienced work injury attorney who can begin gathering evidence to establish the link between your illness and the toxic workplace exposure. At Krol Bongiorno and Given Ltd., we have helped countless injured workers get the answers they’re looking for. For over 6 decades, we have maintained personal contact with our clients while aggressively protecting their rights and pursuing their interests. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.