• John Larrimer

Why Are Workers Still At Risk For Developing Occupational Diseases?

In the past few weeks, we have written about the risks associated with silica and asbestos exposure. Both substances can cause occupational diseases such as mesothelioma and silicosis. In other occupations, nail salon workers are put in harm’s way by carcinogens like formaldehyde.

To give more urgency to the problem of toxins at work, a recent University of California Davis study suggested 53,000 workers died from exposures relating to their workplaces in 2007. Many of the current Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) exposure limits date back to its creation in the 1970s. There have been renewed calls to update exposure limits for many chemicals.

OSHA currently has 470 chemical exposure limits, but 16 substances on that list still present a high cancer or occupational illness risk to workers. One problem for OSHA is how to handle new industries and an increasing number of potentially hazardous chemicals.

What Industries Might Need New Exposure Limits To Prevent Occupational Diseases?

University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University researchers argue people who live near hydraulic fracturing are more likely to be hospitalized for heart conditions and cancers. The risk of health problems may also be high for fracking workers.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has previously warned fracking worksites contain high levels of the chemical benzene, a known carcinogen. Scientists working for the CDC carried out evaluations of worker exposure to benzene and found it was often over safe limits.

Workers are still at risk for exposure to chemicals and substances that can cause occupational diseases. For workers who have developed occupational diseases, it may be possible to receive workers’ compensation, disability or other benefits.

Larrimer & Larrimer, LLCColumbus Workers’ Comp Lawyer


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