Why Should Landscaping Workers Be Concerned About Benzo[a]pyrene?
Lawn mowers, edgers, leaf blowers, and other lawn and garden equipment emit a significant amount of benzo[a]pyrene particles. The mixture of organic material, such as lawn clippings, and extreme heat, like a gasoline engine, creates this chemical. Wood burning produces many benzo[a]pyrene particles, so at very low levels, they are not harmful. But at levels as low as 6 parts per million, BaP causes cancer and other serious chronic illnesses.
Part time workers are especially at risk. These workers often do not have the proper safety equipment to protect them. More on this below.
Occupational diseases, like BaP exposure, are among the most complex cases that New Orleans workers’ compensation attorneys deal with. Fortunately, job injury victims need not prove fault, negligence, or any other such mental state in order to obtain compensation. Instead, workers’ compensation benefits are no-fault benefits.
Much like lead in the water, BaP in the environment has been linked to developmental delays. A tiny amount of this chemical prevents certain neurons from forming when babies are in utero. So, pregnant women are especially vulnerable to BaP particles.
On a related note, BaP also affects reproductive organs. Inhalation, and opposed to absorption through the skin or otherwise, especially causes these problems.
These issues are bad enough, but things get worse. BaP is a Group 1 carcinogen. This chemical mutates cells, causing them to multiply too quickly and form tumors. In fact, BaP-associated lung cancer tumors are usually much worse than other kinds of toxic exposure cancers, such as smoking-induced lung cancer. Moreover, BaP exposure causes some smoking-related problems, such as emphysema.
Apropos of nothing, some researchers believe the link between colon cancer and meat consumption might be because of BaP, and not because of the meat itself. This conclusion is widely disputed.
Lawn Safety Equipment
When landscape artists go to work, their employers should always provide them with the proper safety equipment. This equipment includes masks to prevent these workers from inhaling BaP fumes.
Masks are cheap, but many bosses do not provide them. That’s because masks are also hot, and they slow workers down. In the landscaping industry, time is usually money. Most companies pay landscapers by the project instead of by the hour.
On a related note, many landscape artists are LEP (Limited English Proficiency) workers. These individuals might not understand why it is important to wear masks. Or, they might not understand the mask must cover their mouth and nose.
Hearing loss is also a significant problem for landscaping artists. Prolonged exposure to sounds as low as 80 decibels, which is the equivalent of a lawnmower, can cause permanent hearing loss. Once again, employers should provide earplugs and other safety devices. But they do not always do so.
Your Legal Options
If victims establish that their job environments substantially caused their cancer, hearing loss, or other issue, workers’ compensation benefits are available. These benefits include money for wage replacement and payment of all reasonably necessary medical bills.
Some victims might be entitled to additional compensation. If the employer did not provide proper safety equipment, that employer is arguably reckless, especially if other workers had developed similar problems.
This additional compensation usually includes money for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment in life, loss of consortium (companionship), and other noneconomic losses.
Contact a Tenacious Attorney
Tiny BaP particles can cause many serious health problems. For a free consultation with an experienced New Orleans workers’ compensation lawyer, contact Lunsford, Baskin & Priebe, PLLC. We routinely handle matters in Louisiana and Mississippi.