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Jackson & New Orleans Workers' Compensation / Blog / Workers Compensation / The Most Common Toxic Exposure Occupational Diseases in Mississippi

The Most Common Toxic Exposure Occupational Diseases in Mississippi


An occupational disease is a work-related illness or injury that occurs over the course of more than one work shift. Common examples include hearing loss, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and joint pain. Frequently, these illnesses, while serious, have high recovery rates.

Toxic exposure illnesses are different. Overall, survival rates for cancer and other chronic illness patients have increased substantially since the 1990s. But that’s assuming doctors promptly diagnose the condition. Alas, in many workplace injury claims, that’s not the case. Many occupational disease victims show no symptoms for several years or even several decades. Meanwhile, their illnesses fester and worsen.

Additionally, the normal workers’ compensation rules usually do not apply in occupational disease claims. For example, since many victims are asymptomatic for so long, the claims deadline has usually passed by the time their conditions become apparent. So, only the best Jackson workers’ compensation attorneys should handle toxic exposure claims.

Benzene and Anemia

Gasoline fumes contain high benzene levels. People who worked in garages and other closed environments are especially susceptible to the illnesses discussed below. Additionally, when benzene mixes with organic matter, such as lawn clippings, these toxic fumes become even more dangerous. So, landscaping workers are especially at risk for benzene-related injuries. These fumes affect different people in different ways.

Benzene fumes erode bone marrow. As a result, the victim’s red blood cell count drops dramatically. That decrease leads to anemia and vulnerability to infection.

This toxic chemical also affects the human reproductive system. Women who breathe benzene fumes often have irregular menstrual periods. Their ovaries usually shrink as well. Additionally, animal studies have linked benzene exposure to low birth weight, poor bone formation, and lack of bone marrow.

All these bone marrow issues sometimes cause leukemia. In fact, benzene is a known carcinogen, according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

Asbestos and Mesothelioma

For a number of decades, builders routinely used asbestos as an insulation and fireproofing material. This natural mineral is cheap and plentiful. It is also one of the most toxic substances on earth. One microscopic asbestos fiber can cause mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of heart-lung cancer. Today, individuals who work in the construction or renovation industry often encounter asbestos fibers.

As mentioned, overall cancer survival rates have improved greatly in the last thirty years. But mesothelioma’s mortality rate is still rather high. These tumors form in the delicate mesh lining between the heart and lungs. As a result, traditional treatments are often ineffective. For example, doctors cannot bombard these tumors with radiation without damaging the heart and/or lungs.

Making matters worse, mesothelioma is difficult to diagnose. Many victims do not have symptoms for up to forty years. Given such a time gap, it’s difficult to make a connection between chest pain and a job held long ago. For that same reason, many doctors misdiagnose mesothelioma as a less aggressive form of cancer or even as something else entirely, like COPD.

Workers’ compensation insurance pays all medical bills related to all cancer treatment and recovery protocols. Workers’ compensation benefits also include wage replacement. So, families have the money they need to carry on while their main providers are unable to work. 

Count on an Experienced Attorney

Occupational disease victims might be entitled to substantial benefits. For a free consultation with an experienced Jackson workers’ compensation attorney, contact Lunsford, Baskin & Priebe, PLLC. We routinely handle matters in Louisiana and Mississippi.


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