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Jackson & New Orleans Workers' Compensation / Blog / Workers Compensation / Top Five Toxic Exposure Occupational Diseases

Top Five Toxic Exposure Occupational Diseases


An occupational disease is any job-related illness which develops over the course of more than one work shift. Back pain, knee problems, and other such joint issues spring immediately to mind. Hearing loss is another example. In this post, we’ll look at some common toxic exposure occupational diseases.

These conditions may be different, but they have at least one thing in common. Most of these toxic exposure illnesses have very long latency periods. Victims might be seriously ill for years, or even decades, before symptoms appear. As a result, by the time doctors address their issues, the condition is much harder to treat.

A Jackson workers’ compensation attorney can obtain the financial benefits these victims need to pay medical bills as well as everyday expenses. Injured Mississippi workers can usually choose their own doctors. Therefore, they are eligible for the care they need, as opposed to the care a company doctor is willing to provide.

Asbestos Particles

Until the 1980s, builders routinely used this natural substance to fireproof and insulate buildings and ships. Asbestos is still legal to use in the United States. So, any construction workers could be exposed to it. But renovation and demolition workers face higher risks. A single microscopic asbestos fiber could cause mesothelioma, a very rare, and very aggressive, heart-lung cancer.

Other asbestos-related diseases include asbestosis, which is basically lung scarring, and popcorn lung. These diseases, as well as mesothelioma, often have twenty-five year latency periods.

Benzene Fumes

Yard trimmings smell somewhat sweet because they are laced with benzene fumes. Organic matter, like cut grass, releases these fumes when it comes in contact with a superheated element, like a gasoline engine.

Burning cigarettes also release high levels of benzene fumes. These particles have a number of ill health effects. The toxin infects the brain, causing symptoms like confusion and drowsiness. Benzene fumes, much like cigarette smoke, also affect the lungs. Indoor landscaping workers, like the people who clean and store equipment after a long day of use, are especially prone to benzene-related illnesses.


One-time smoke inhalation, perhaps from a fire, often has little effect. Repeated exposure is a different story. So, smoke-related health problems often affect first responders.

The law recently changed on this point. There is a presumption that smoke inhalation causes certain kinds of cancer and other illnesses among first responders. Therefore, it’s easier to establish a work-related connection in these cases.

Formaldehyde Fumes

Nail polish remover and other manicure/pedicure chemicals often contain high levels of formaldehyde. Mouth/nose masks block many of these fumes. But the cheap paper masks that most workers wear don’t block all fumes. Additionally, these fumes can enter the body through the eyes or absorb through the skin.

Industrial Solvents

People who work with machines also usually work with harsh chemicals. Over time, these chemical fumes can burn the lungs just like they burn the grime off machine parts.

Trauma injuries, mostly chemical burns, are usually an issue around industrial solvents as well. Unlike temperature burns, chemical burns usually don’t trigger an immediate pain response. So, a chemical could burn a victim’s ear, nose, and/or throat for a second or two before the victim realizes anything is wrong. Those few moments are usually enough to cause a very serious injury.

Work with a Dedicated Mississippi Attorney

Occupational disease victims are entitled to financial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Jackson, contact Lunsford, Baskin & Priebe, PLLC. After-hours visits are available.



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