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Types of toxic exposure in the workplace

| Apr 8, 2021 | Workers' Compensation

Whether it is from spilled chemicals, particulate matter in the air or inadequate protective gear, workers in countless occupations might face exposure to dangerous materials on nearly every shift. Workers who have faced toxic exposure must act quickly to protect themselves both physically and financially.

While toxic exposure could come from nearly any type of contact with the hazardous materials, exposure generally falls into three common categories:

  • Inhalation: Workers in numerous industries are in danger of breathing in toxic materials. The form of the material can vary ranging from dust particles, chemical fumes or airborne particulate matter as a result of cutting or grinding solid material. Inhalation of this material can lead to lung diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, silicosis and lung cancer.
  • Ingestion: While people might instantly equate ingestion with the intentional act of eating something, the activity can be completely unintentional. A splash of chemicals hitting the cheek or lips, for example, or getting something on your hands that is then transferred to food can all lead to the ingestion of hazardous materials.
  • Dermal absorption: One of the most common and most obvious types of toxic exposure is direct skin contact. These hazardous materials can lead to skin irritation or infection. In some instances, the chemical substance can be absorbed into the body affecting either the skin or the subcutaneous tissue. The type of substance, amount of material or the depth of penetration can result in damage to the fatty tissue, muscles or bones in the area below the skin. Some chemicals might be absorbed into the blood stream and travel throughout the body damaging various organs.

Toxic exposure can result in countless conditions. While many are treatable, many others are lifelong conditions that might ultimately prove fatal.

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