Chemical exposure refers to contact with toxic substances that present hazards and risks to humans as a result of carelessness or negligence.
All people, especially construction workers, are exposed to toxic chemicals every day. Many of the substances considered “safe,” such as medicines, household cleaning products, agricultural solutions or construction products, can include components that are highly harmful to the human body.
Chemical exposure accidents can occur anywhere, but they are most common in the workplace. In fact, employees in the construction industry, who often handle heavy metals, benzene and other toxic substances, are part of the group most at risk for chemical-related accidents.
In such cases, if you or a family member has suffered an illness caused by chemicals, a toxic exposure lawyer can be a construction worker’s best ally.
How common are exposures to toxic substances on construction sites?
Federal statistics showed that, in 2009, 17,320 US employees suffered an occupational illness requiring at least two days off work after exposure to chemicals or products.
According to official figures, the construction sector reported that 980 workers suffered occupational injuries from contact with toxic chemicals during the same year.
As mentioned, toxic substances can be found almost anywhere, including homes, schools and, mainly, workplaces. Some of the most common hazardous substances in cases of exposure are:
- Benzene is widely used in plastics, lubricants, dyes, rubbers, pesticides, detergents and medicines. Prolonged exposure to benzene can cause acute myeloid leukaemia.
- Asbestos: is a chemical generally used in construction and building sites. Studies have linked it to mesothelioma and other serious diseases. It can also cause debilitating lung conditions.
- Glyphosate: is the main compound in some herbicides. Exposure to this chemical has been linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
- Lead: is a toxic metal usually used in construction work involving manual demolition, use of hot air guns, mechanical cleaning, etc. It is associated with decreased motor strength and gastrointestinal, kidney and reproductive problems. It is associated with decreased motor strength and gastrointestinal, renal and reproductive problems.
When someone is exposed to them, intentionally or accidentally, they can be the victim of injury, illness and severe side effects. These examples of hazardous substances do not necessarily cause harm. It is the responsibility of employers to take the necessary measures to prevent serious or potentially fatal accidents.
How do exposures to toxic substances occur on construction sites?
Construction workers may be exposed to hazardous chemicals as part of their work, through negligence or accidentally. Sources of toxic exposure can include poisonous chemicals, dusts, fuel, paint, groundwater, smoke, asbestos, radiation, pesticides, gases, pharmaceuticals, irritants and many more.
Depending on the product involved and the use, manufacturers, suppliers, supervisors, builders, corporations or business owners may be held liable for exposing a worker to a toxic substance. If suppliers or manufacturers do not properly label materials or chemicals, indicating their potential hazards, handlers can be injured.
Employers or contractors may also be liable for accidents due to exposure to toxic substances when they fail to properly train their personnel, provide workers with protective equipment and appropriate work clothing, or install disinfection stations in the work area.
In some cases, exposure to chemicals may go undetected for long periods of time (such as when air pollution occurs), as some products do not have an odour and do not produce immediate reactions. For that reason, it is imperative to seek the advice of a toxic exposure lawyer to initiate an investigation and begin legal proceedings.
Injuries due to exposure to toxic substances
Just as there are many possible sources of exposure to harmful products, injuries related to contact with toxic substances can be varied, including the following:
- Dizziness and headaches.
- Flu-like symptoms, allergies and breathing difficulties.
- Eye irritation or damage, including blindness.
- Mild to severe asthma or lung damage.
- Brain damage.
- Nerve damage.
- Organ damage.
- Wrongful death.
- Childhood defects.
- Fertility defects.
When to seek a lawyer if you have been exposed to a toxic substance?
It is important to seek help from a toxic exposure lawyer if you believe you have suffered an occupational injury or illness related to contact with chemicals that has harmed your life and work performance.
The attorney investigates how and where the exposure occurred, the type of substance involved, the injuries or illnesses caused, and gets you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Why contact Gorayeb, The People’s Lawyers in case of exposure to toxic substances?
Gorayeb, The People’s Lawyers has a law firm specialised in cases of exposure to dangerous products and become your best allies for your recovery, peace of mind and well-being.
If you or someone you know has been injured on a construction site call Gorayeb & Associates at 646-906-9897 for a free consultation.