As a construction worker, you know the numerous on-the-job hazards around you and take steps to protect yourself from falls, car collisions and heavy machinery injuries. Unfortunately, most construction workers often overlook risks from exposure to toxic chemicals.
Construction sites often contain many hazardous chemicals, including chemicals used in construction and those in the soil or water. From mild eye irritation to serious illnesses like cancer, chemical exposure in a construction site can affect your health in various ways.
Common toxic chemicals on construction sites
Many products used in construction sites contain chemical hazards, and you may be exposed to them during construction activities. Some of the common chemicals that you may be exposed to include:
- Welding fumes
You may be exposed to these hazardous chemicals that exist in the form of dust, fumes, liquids and gases in the line of duty. When exposed, you may suffer serious injuries.
Side effects of exposure to hazardous chemicals
The side effects of exposure to hazardous chemicals may sometimes be apparent immediately. However, at other times, symptoms of exposure may take months or years to develop. If exposed to hazardous chemicals, some of the side effects may include:
- Manganism: This is a permanent neurodegenerative disease caused by exposure to manganese fumes or dust. This disorder has similar clinical symptoms to Parkinson’s disease, including tremors of the arms and hands, stiffness in arms and legs and loss of balance.
- Lead poisoning: Lead is a naturally occurring toxic metal found in many construction materials, including paint, solders, tank linings and welding wire. Lead poisoning may cause headaches, loss of sex drive, muscle pain and trouble sleeping. Continued exposure may cause nerve disorders, reproductive damage, high blood pressure and brain damage.
- Mesothelioma: Asbestos is often found in contaminated construction materials such as roof shingles, paint, drywall and other masonry compounds. Unfortunately, continued exposure to asbestos may lead to a rare type of cancer known as mesothelioma.
If you’re a construction worker and suspect your injury or illness was caused by exposure to hazardous chemicals at work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation. First, however, consider seeking legal assistance to help you explore your legal options.