Chemical Exposure

Hazardous chemicals can be solids, liquids or gases, seen or unseen. Very often chemical exposure occurs where victims are not even aware of their proximity to harmful substances. Only later do they start to notice symptoms, and even then they may never know that the cause of their illness was chemical exposure. Industrial workers, for example, are prone to long-running, low-level exposures to chemicals and toxins that damage their bodies slowly over time.

Asbestos and benzene are two examples of the kinds of invisible killers that many workers in construction, factories, and other industrial careers face every day. Some employers are aware of these dangers, and some are not. Regardless, both can be held liable in a court of law.

  • Benzene
  • Asbestos
  • Poisons

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    Benzene is an organic compound often used in the manufacture of rubber, paint, plastics, resins, drugs, pesticides, synthetics, and other products. It is a colorless and highly flammable liquid with a sweet odor. Benzene can also be found in organic solvents, gasoline, and tobacco smoke.

    In addition to manufacturing facilities, benzene can also enter the environment through spills, accidental releases, volcanic eruptions, and forest fires.

    Breathing very high levels of benzene can be fatal, while high levels can result in drowsiness, dizziness, rapid heart rate, headaches, tremors, confusion, and unconsciousness. Consuming foods containing high levels of benzene can cause vomiting, irritation of the stomach, dizziness, sleepiness, convulsions, rapid heart rate, and death. Long-term (one year or longer) exposure mainly affects the blood. Benzene can negatively affect bone marrow and can cause a decrease in red blood cells, leading to anemia. It can also lead to excessive bleeding and adverse reactions in the immune system, which increase the chance for infection.

    If you believe you may have a benzene exposure case, contact us today for more information.

    Despite most people's assumptions that asbestos is no longer the pervasive threat it once was, the U.S. Geological Survey reports that asbestos continues to be used in friction products such as brakes and clutches, gaskets, thermal insulation, and roofing products. Construction workers in particular continue to be at risk for exposure to asbestos, and not just asbestos removal workers; industrial maintenance personnel repairing equipment insulated with asbestos-containing material are at risk, as are automotive service workers involved in brake and clutch repairs.

    Exposure to asbestos in the workplace remains a serious occupational health danger. In the United States today, as many as eight million individuals have been exposed to asbestos. In 1991, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health estimated that nearly 700,000 industrial workers remained potentially exposed to asbestos, and that estimate excluded mining, railroad work, agriculture, and several other industry sectors.

    An estimated 10,000 people die each year of asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, and gastrointestinal cancer.

    Occupations at risk for asbestos exposure include: construction workers, mechanics, repairers, stevedores, masons, furnace and kiln operators, painters, janitors, welders, insulation workers, plumbers, and air-conditioning and refrigeration workers.

    If you believe you may have an asbestos exposure case, contact us today for more information.

    Every year thousands of people die as the result of exposure to poisons. In many case those deaths were preventable had the product containing the poison been properly labeled. Many of the illnesses and deaths caused by poisoning is the result of a product being mislabeled. The following statistics illustrate how significant this problem is in The United States.

    Facts On Poison Exposures

    • On average, poison centers handle one poison exposure every 14 seconds.
    • Over two million poison exposures were reported to local poison centers in 2000.
    • Most poisonings involve everyday household items such as cleaning supplies, medicines, cosmetics and personal care items.
    • 89 percent of all poison exposures occur in the home.
    • 92 percent of exposures involve only one poisonous substance.
    • 86.7 percent of poison exposures are unintentional.
    • 75 percent of poison exposures involve ingestion of a poisonous substance. Other causes include breathing in poison gas, getting foreign substances in the eyes or on the skin, and bites and stings.
    • 77 percent of all exposures are treated on the site where they occurred, generally the patient?s home with phone advice and assistance from local poison control experts.

    Children and Poison

    • 53 percent of poison exposures occur in children under the age of six.
    • The most common forms of poison exposure for children under the age of six are cosmetics and personal care products (13.3%), cleaning substances (10.7%), analgesics (7.6%) and plants (6.9%).
    • Although children under the age of six are the most likely to be exposed to poison, they represent just over two percent of poison fatalities.

    Teens and Poison

    • 160,000 cases of poison exposure were reported among teenagers in 2000.
    • In children between ages 13 and 19, the majority of poison exposures (55%) involve girls. In children under 13, the reverse is true; over 56 percent of these exposures involve boys.
    • 84 percent of reported adolescent deaths from poison exposure were due to intentional poison exposure such as suicide or drug abuse.

    Adults and Poison

    • Over 8,000 poison exposures in 2000 occurred in pregnant women.
    • Over 60 percent of all poison fatalities occur in adults ages 20 to 49.
    • While adults 60 and over account for four percent of poison exposures, they account for 15.5 percent of the fatalities.

    * Data from the 2000 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers Toxic Exposure Surveillance System, which is complied by the American Association of Poison Control Centers in cooperation with a majority of U.S. poison centers.
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