Toxic exposure may cause asthma in workers

Many workers may still be affected by toxic exposure despite safety precautions and recommendations of using protective equipment, according to a study by the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. Exposure to toxins and chemicals at work is causing more workers to develop asthma and other health complications.

Asthma is one of the most common diseases for adults in the world. Chemical exposure has a significant impact on causing asthma in adults. To track the impact toxic exposure has on workers, researchers studied workers who were exposed to toxins and chemicals during 1980 to 2000.

The study found that many cases of asthma in adults have been caused by toxic or chemical exposure while working. This was a surprising finding because there are safety regulations to help prevent toxic exposure for workers, which include wearing protective equipment and proper education for those who work with toxic chemicals.

Researchers reported that there were 1.3 asthma cases for every 1,000 male workers and 2.4 cases for every 1,000 female workers. The study found that wokers who are exposed to epoxy and dissocyanates, which are found in glue, varnish and foam plastic, are more likely to develop asthma due to their exposure to these chemicals.

The study identified which industries and occupations workers have the highest risk of being exposed to chemicals and toxins that can cause asthma in adults. The occupations that have the highest risk of being exposed to toxins or chemicals include:

  • spray painters
  • plumbers
  • cleaners
  • health care and social service industry workers who use latex gloves and detergents
  • food and tobacco industry workers
  • hair stylists

Workers have the right to know what toxins they are being exposed to and ways to protect themselves. Employers are supposed to keep their workers safe and not expose them to hazardous chemicals or environments. Workers who have suffered an injury or illness due to toxic exposure may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits under Pennsylvania law.

Source: Medical News, “Many people still affected with asthma after exposure to chemicals at work,” Jan. 17, 2013

Our law firm represents workers who have suffered an illness or injury due to toxic exposure. To learn more about our law firm, please visit our Pennsylvania workers’ comp law page.