Hazardous Chemicals Can Cause Cancer
Toxic substances can cause a wide range of health conditions, including cancer. Occupational exposure to toxic substances is believed to account for four percent of all cancers in the United States. A network of state and federal regulations has helped decrease the rates of occupational exposure to carcinogens over the past few decades, but employers do not always follow these guidelines, and new problems are constantly being identified. If you have cancer, and suspect that it was caused by exposure to toxic chemicals on the job, an experienced environmental lawyer can help you hold responsible parties accountable.
How Does OSHA Regulate Exposure?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that chemical manufacturers and importers evaluate the hazards of chemicals and prepare warning labels to convey information to those who may be exposed. Any employers who have hazardous chemicals in their workplace must have labels and safety data sheets available to their employees, and train their employees on how to handle these chemicals safely.
OSHA also sets permissible exposure limits (PEL) to protect workers against the health effects of exposure to toxic chemicals. Although PELs are no guarantees of “safe” levels, they at least limit the airborne concentration of hazardous chemicals in the air. Employers must identify and evaluate respiratory hazards in the workplace, and adhere to various other types of occupational exposure limits (OELs) established by other organizations.
Common Chemicals that Cause Cancer
Some of the common cancer-causing substances in the workplace include:
- Vinyl chloride
- Leather dust
- Wood dust
- Radon gas
What Jobs Are Associated with Occupational Exposure to Cancer Causing Chemicals?
Although people in virtually any occupation can be exposed to toxic, cancerous materials, certain occupations put employees at a greater risk, including:
- Rubber industry
- Leather industry
- Roofing industry
- Textile industry
- Paving industry
- Truck drivers
- Petroleum workers
- Plastics workers
- Oil refinery workers
- Chimney sweeping
- Iron and steel foundry work
- Railroad work
Staying Safe and Healthy in the Workplace
If you work around harmful substances, it is important to understand and utilize the protective gear provided to you. OSHA typically requires employers to provide employees with protective gear and training on how to use it. Even if the employer faithfully follows these regulations, they will do no good unless employees adhere to the instructions. Employees should reduce their risk of exposure to toxic substances outside of the workplace by avoiding smoking and chewing tobacco, limiting or cutting out alcohol, and eating healthy. Physical activity is also beneficial to an employee’s overall health.
Pennsylvania Workplace Safety Lawyers at Williams Cedar Represent Employees Exposed to Hazardous Chemicals at Work
No one should suffer a debilitating, life-threatening health condition from their place of employment. If you have a health condition that you suspect may have originated at work, contact one of the experienced Pennsylvania workplace safety lawyers at Williams Cedar today by calling us at 215-557-0099, or contact us online for a free consultation. We can investigate your condition or injury, and help ascertain the cause. With office locations in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and nationwide.