What Is Considered Toxic Exposure?

Toxic exposure is being directly or indirectly in contact with a substance – natural or man-made – that leads to changes in body structure or function. Toxic exposure may take place once or over a long period. It can lead to illness or even death.

What Are Toxic Substances?

Toxic substances then could refer to mold, asbestos, lead, acid, dust, solvents, and mineral fibers like glass, ceramic, and rockwool. Most of those things get into your lungs, where they’ll cause long-term respiratory damage.

Even though some of these substances have long since been outlawed, such as lead and asbestos, they’re still pretty common in older buildings. These older buildings often get renovated at some point, so construction workers will inevitably come into contact with them. This is why one of the best preventative measures you can take on the job is following basic workplace safety procedures.

A toxic substance, often called a chemical hazard, can pose significant health risks to workers, such as irritation, sensitization, and even carcinogenicity (cancer). Physical hazards can include flammability, corrosion, and explosibility.

Toxic substances may be airborne, liquid, or solid. They often enter the body through breathing or direct handling.

Toxic Chemical Exposure Lawyer in New York City Toxic Chemical Exposure at Work

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), more than 13,000 toxic chemical and substance exposures to workers in 2020. This number was much lower than previous years, likely because of the drastically lower overall employment rate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Common toxic chemicals and substances include:

  • Combustible dust
  • Acetic acid
  • Acetone
  • Ammonia
  • Arsenic
  • Asbestos
  • Asphalt fumes
  • Benzene
  • Cadmium
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Chromium
  • Cobalt
  • Copper fumes
  • Ethyl alcohol
  • Fungi
  • Iron oxide fumes
  • Lead
  • Manganese fumes
  • Methyl acetate
  • Nickel
  • Petroleum distillates
  • Phosphoric acid
  • Silica
  • Silver
  • Tin
  • Toluene
  • Trimethylbenzene
  • Vanadium
  • Xylene
  • Zinc oxide fumes

How Does Toxic Exposure Happen?

Exposure to dangerous chemicals is typically seen in construction accidents, chemical spills, paints, fuels, dust and debris, and other vapors and solvents. There are safe ways to handle chemicals, but people can get hurt when employers don’t properly train people, or safety protocols are not followed.

OSHA has chemical-related safety protocols based on individual substances. Regulations regarding handling certain chemicals and toxic substances are based on activity level and ceiling limit – how much substance a human can be exposed to without harm.

The more severe a reaction that is likely, the stricter protocols will be. Similarly, if a person must only be exposed for a short period, safety regulations will be more intense.

OSHA has specific web pages discussing Chemical Related Safety and Health Topics for many individual toxic substances.

Who’s Liable for a Toxic Chemical Exposure?

Multiple parties may be responsible if you are exposed to toxic chemicals in NYC and are harmed. If your employer is to blame, you should file a workers’ compensation claim. However, you will only get money for medical bills, a portion of your lost wages, and disability through workers’ comp. You cannot get damages for non-economic losses like pain and suffering.

If you file a third-party personal injury claim against another party who is also responsible for your injuries, you can recover significantly more. We can help you get money for pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of earning potential, future medical bills, disfigurement, and more.

Some of the parties who may have contributed to your toxic chemical injury or illness include:

  • General contractors
  • Subcontractors
  • Property owners and managers
  • Engineers
  • Manufacturing companies
  • Mechanics
  • Truck drivers

It’s important to include all the people or companies who may be responsible for your damages in your personal injury lawsuit. If you don’t, you may forfeit the right to recover all the compensation you deserve.

Toxic Chemical Exposure Injuries

Toxic chemical exposures can cause both injuries and ongoing illness. Some of the common afflictions we have seen include:

  • Respiratory distress and illness
  • Pneumonia
  • Nerve damage
  • Brain damage
  • Cancer
  • Infertility
  • Organ damage and failure
  • Hearing or vision loss
  • Chemical burns
  • Paralysis
  • Birth defects

Exposure to some substances can even result in death. If your loved one died due to toxic chemical exposure on the job, you need to reach out to a wrongful death attorney right away.

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Contact a Lawyer for Help

Toxic chemical exposure cases can be complex. They often require experts like chemical engineers and medical personnel to offer opinions about your situation. Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek P.C. has a who can guide you through a claim.

Our compassionate attorneys will listen to your situation and determine what you can expect. Then, we will make sure you get the most compensation possible.

Call Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek P.C. at 212-490-5700 or use our online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. There’s no fee unless we win.

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