• Real Scares - The Shock of Getting Illness on the Job
  • November 14, 2016
  • Law Firm: Waters Kraus LLP - Dallas Office
  • Put all the creatures of the night together, and they still couldn’t be as terrifying as learning that someone in your family is seriously - and sometimes terminally - ill. Even more frightening? Learning that the cause of that illness came from exposure to something at work. It’s nightmare material.

    Beware. Toxins abound.

    Several toxic chemicals and materials are known causes leading to disease. Yet, they still exist in the workplace. One of the main reasons families take these cases to trial, besides trying to get expensive health care treatments covered, is to make sure other families don’t have to go through the medical horror. Legislation helps. But awareness is the real key to protecting the people you care about.

    Be Aware.

    These are a few substances on which we unfortunately, have become skilled. This just skims the surface of what you need to know. Read our news section for more in-depth articles.

    Substance: Asbestos

    You’ve likely heard how damaging asbestos can be. Often, symptoms don’t appear for years, sometimes decades. But even with the awareness asbestos is still out there, and causing fresh diagnoses.

    Prevention: Don’t breathe asbestos in or ingest it in any way. When removed improperly, it can contaminate an entire area / house/ building. Professional removal and specialized breathing gear should be provided if there is even a question of whether asbestos is present.

    Where you might encounter asbestos:
    Construction or demolition in older houses and buildings especially built before 1971-pay particular attention to floor or ceiling tiles, walls using old joint compound { /7m-verdict-reached- in-lengthy- asbestos-trial/}, and jackets around water heaters.
    Anywhere older pipes need to be replaced - the pipes, gaskets and the insulation surrounding them are all potential hazards. A recent article on Steelworker exposure shows how present the danger still is.

    Substance: Benzene

    While widespread in current use, there is very little awareness on the effect of the chemical on health. Of particular concern is the exposure around crude oil. There is a rise in investigations conducted not only in refineries but also areas in which underground pipes release gasses, such as a port in Oregon and a neighborhood in Houston. Petroleum-based products are also causing large concern, such as the groundwater contamination from a tire company in Oklahoma. Much more awareness needs to occur around the known effects of Benzene and prevention, but be especially cautious in the oil industry or with known exposure.

    Substance: Pesticides

    Birth injury has been linked to many farming toxins, both from pesticides and runoff. Of particular note is the use of Glyphosate used in commercial farming. New regulations call for more education about the risks of pesticides, but if you or your family work in farming, take time to become more educated on handling toxic substances yourself.

    Becoming aware of the substances you deal with at work is one way to have a safe Halloween. If you are already in the midst of an exposure horror story and want to make others aware by forcing companies to pay attention legally, contact Waters & Kraus to discuss your legal options and learn more about how we can assist you and your family.