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When toxic exposure leads to permanent disability

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2024 | Workers' Compensation |

Toxic exposure in the workplace is a reality that can lead to significant health problems, including permanent disability. This type of exposure occurs when workers come into contact with harmful chemicals, substances or conditions during their job duties. 

For example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently in the process of designating two chemicals commonly found on job sites as hazardous because these “forever” substances break down slowly and cause harm over time as a result. Both “hidden” and obviously toxic substances alike can cause real damage when workers are exposed to them. 

Common sources of toxic exposure

Toxic exposure can stem from various sources, depending on the industry and job environment at issue. Common hazardous substances include:

  • Asbestos: Historically used in construction and manufacturing, asbestos fibers can cause harm over time that may lead to a diagnosis of lung cancer, mesothelioma and other ailments that may prove fatal
  • Lead: Found in batteries, paints and some industrial processes, lead exposure can damage the nervous system and cause cognitive impairments
  • Benzene: Used in chemical plants and found in products like plastics and rubber, benzene exposure is linked to leukemia and other blood disorders
  • Pesticides: Common in agricultural settings, prolonged exposure can lead to neurological damage and cancers
  • Solvents and industrial chemicals: Frequent in manufacturing and cleaning industries, exposure to solvents can cause organ damage, reproductive issues and long-term cognitive effects

These are just a tiny fraction of the kinds of substances that can lead to permanent harm when it comes to toxic exposure in the workplace. 

When toxic exposure leads to severe health conditions, the impacts can be life-changing, often resulting in permanent disability. This means that an affected individual may no longer be able to perform their job duties or engage in other employment, significantly affecting their quality of life and financial stability. When this happens, seeking workers’ compensation benefits can help to limit the monetary fallout of this unacceptable reality.