What to do if you suffered from an illness due to toxic exposure
No matter what occupation you work in, there are risks you may not be aware of that can lead to an injury or illness.
One risk that often doesn't get enough attention is toxic exposure. It's not just workers who regularly handle toxic chemicals and materials who are at risk. It's anyone who could potentially come in contact with hazardous materials who can develop an adverse health condition or become ill.
If you became ill on the job due to toxic exposure, you have legal rights that must be upheld. Workers' compensation doesn't just apply to workplace injuries. It also applies to adverse health conditions and illnesses linked to your work environment. If you have any questions, speak to an experienced Pennsylvania workers' compensation lawyer.
Chemicals & materials that often cause toxic exposure
There are many types of chemicals, gases or materials that can lead to immediate injury or long-term illness. Those who work in spaces that are enclosed or poorly ventilated are the most at risk of being injured or becoming ill.
Short term hazards
We often see injuries and illnesses develop quickly with:
- Carbon monoxide poisoning. This occurs when carbon monoxide builds up in the blood and causes headaches, weakness, dizziness, shortness of breath and nausea or vomiting. Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur quickly and take 4-6 hours in fresh air to recover from minor cases. More severe exposure can lead to fainting, falls, coma or death.
- Cyanide poisoning. Exposure to any type of cyanide can lead to headaches, dizziness, increased heart rate, shortness of breath and vomiting within a few minutes. People who are exposed to cyanide can also experience seizures, slowed heart rate, low blood pressure, loss of consciousness, cardiac arrest and long-term neurological issues.
- Gasoline poisoning. We're often exposed to gasoline when we stop to fill up our cars, but in some occupations, workers are exposed to greater amounts of it. Gasoline poisoning can lead to difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, severe headaches, severe fatigue, weakness, loss of consciousness, and convulsions.
Long-term health risks
Workers often experience long-term adverse health effects from:
- Asbestos exposure. Long-term exposure to asbestos often leads to a lung disease called asbestosis. Electricians, construction workers, shipyard workers, refinery and mill workers, and boiler operators are the most at risk. Asbestosis symptoms often include shortness of breath, dry cough, loss of appetite and chest pain. Asbestosis also has the potential to develop into lung cancer or malignant mesothelioma.
- Silica exposure. Those who work in construction, sandblasting, masonry, mining, glass manufacturing, and plaster and drywall installation are regularly exposed to silica dust. Long-term inhalation of silica dust can lead to a serious lung disease called silicosis. People with silicosis often have trouble breathing, feel fatigued, have chest pain and cough frequently.
Get a workers' compensation lawyer serving Allentown, Bethlehem & Lehigh Valley, PA
If you notice any unusual symptoms after being exposed to toxic chemicals or materials, it's critical that you notify your employer and see a doctor as soon as possible. Getting prompt medical attention can prevent your condition from getting worse. In addition, it can create a record of your injury or illness, which can be beneficial when filing a workers' compensation claim.
You should then speak to an experienced workers' compensation lawyer. The legal team at Vellner Law, PC knows how the workers' compensation system in Pennsylvania works. We know how complex filing a claim can be, especially for those filing for the first time. We'll help you navigate the process and maximize your chances of getting compensated.
Our law firm serves clients in Allentown and Bethlehem, PA, as well as Lehigh Valley. Learn about how we can help you get compensated for your medical expenses and lost wages. Contact us online or call us for your free and confidential case consultation.