You may go to great lengths to make sure your home is safe and free of toxic chemicals and gases. But what if you are being exposed to dangerous substances in your workplace? You may not even know that you are being exposed and you may feel helpless to do anything about it even if you do know. Every year in Missouri, claims are made for cancers and serious lung diseases caused by toxic exposure in the workplace.
Diseases Caused by Toxic Exposure
According to the Missouri Department of Labor, close to 50 reports of injury are made each year from diseases caused by toxic exposure. These are followed up by a handful of workers’ compensation claims for the same diseases. In 2014, the following diseases due to toxic exposure were reported:
- Asbestosis. Often thought of as a thing of the past, there were 40 reports of asbestosis made in Missouri last year. Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease caused by inhaling asbestos fibers. Many building materials were made of asbestos before government regulation of the material in the 1970s.
- Mesothelioma. An aggressive and deadly cancer, mesothelioma occurs on the lining of internal organs and is caused by exposure to asbestos. There were five reports of mesothelioma to the Division of Workers’ Compensation in Missouri last year.
- Silicosis. Silicosis is a lung disease in which the lining of the lung air sacs is damaged by tiny bits of silica. Silica is a mineral component of sand, rocks, and mineral ores. Miners, glass manufacturers, and foundry workers are most often affected.
- Acute myelogenous leukemia. This specific form of leukemia affects the myeloid cells, which produce red and white blood cells and platelets. One cause of acute myelogenous leukemia is believed to be exposure to benzene, a common chemical used in the production of plastics, glues, paints, and detergents.
Fortunately, these diseases have been on the decline since stricter workplace safety laws have been enacted over the years. Employers are now well aware of the dangers of exposure to asbestos, silica, and benzene and have, for the most part, made workplaces much safer. However, these claims made in Missouri last year prove that people are still getting sick and deserve compensation for their illness. If you suspect you are sick due to exposure to any substance in the workplace, contact us as soon as possible. We’ll guide you through the workers’ compensation process.