COVID-19 Updates: We are keeping our staff, clients and their family members safe and healthy. Our law firm is 100% operational, available in-person and 24/7 assistance by email and phone. Read More

How do I find out if I am exposed to toxic materials?

The most accurate method to determine whether you have been exposed to chemicals is environmental monitoring, which is done by measuring the concentration of a chemical in the air and the duration of exposure to it.

answered by Gregory A. Cade

What are the most common workplace, toxic agents?

There are over 650,000 toxic agents people can be exposed to on their job. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, approximately 32 million people are exposed to toxic agents in the workplace every year throughout the country. While some toxic agents were banned or regulated, others are still present in various work environments, particularly in industrial settings. The majority of toxic agents are used for the manufacturing of various products or are released into our air, land, and water by certain industrial processes. This is how exposure occurs. These are the most common toxic agents which can be encountered on the job:

Other toxic industrial chemicals used in industrial production processes with a negative impact on human health:

  • arsenic
  • beryllium
  • cadmium
  • chromium
  • diesel exhaust
  • formaldehyde
  • hydrogen sulfide
  • lead
  • mercury
  • methylene
  • silica dust
  • solvents
  • synthetic mineral fibers
  • toluene

Signs of toxic overload in your body to look out for, according to doctors

In the case of toxic substances that are ingested or are absorbed through the skin, environmental monitoring will underestimate the quantity of chemicals you may have absorbed. Therefore, the levels of such chemicals in the body can be measured by testing the blood, urine, and exhaled air. This type of testing is called biological monitoring and the results of these tests provide an estimation of the dose of the toxin absorbed by your body. Apart from this, there are some practical clues to check your exposure:

  • Immediate symptoms: These symptoms include tears in the eyes, a burning sensation on the skin, nose, or throat, dizziness, headache, and a persistent cough. If you experience symptoms known to be caused by exposure to a chemical, you might have been overexposed.
  • Taste: Ingestion or inhalation of toxic substances may leave a peculiar taste in your mouth.
  • Particles in the throat or nose: The mucus you coughed up or blew out from your nose may contain particles if you have inhaled toxic substances in the form of particles. However, most particles inhaled are microscopic and cannot be seen by the naked eye.
  • Settling of dust: Chemical dust will settle on your skin, hair, or work clothes, as well as on work surfaces. If you find some dust or mist, it is likely that you may have inhaled some when it was airborne.

What are the symptoms of toxic exposure?

Depending on the toxic agent you were exposed to, symptoms may appear immediately after exposure or, in the case of asbestos exposure, it may take between 20 and 50 years for a disease to develop, as asbestos fibers gradually cause damage to the organs in the body. For this reason, we strongly encourage people with a history of toxic exposure to undergo a periodical medical examination, as they may have developed a related disease.

Some of the most common symptoms of toxic exposure, regardless of the hazardous agent in question, are:

  • respiratory: chest pain, a persisting cough, shortness of breath, irritation, and difficulty breathing
  • gastrointestinal: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, heartburn, indigestion, and a feeling of fullness after eating small amounts of food
  • renal: back pain, urinating more or less frequently, blood in urine and swollen ankles, feet, or hands
  • neurological: headache, dizziness, confusion, depression, coma, and convulsions
  • hematological: anemia
  • dermatological: rashes, itching, swelling, and redness
  • reproductive: infertility and miscarriage

We offer free of charge asbestos screenings to former industrial workers

With over 25 years of professional experience, our medical experts specialize in diagnosing diseases that are caused by asbestos exposure. Thereby, if you experience symptoms and have a history of occupational asbestos exposure, we highly recommend you to contact our law firm for a free of charge screening.

People who already have a diagnosis related to asbestos exposure are also encouraged to undergo a screening since misdiagnosis is very common when it comes to asbestos-related diseases. Our medical specialists will carefully examine your chest X-rays to determine whether you have asbestos fibers in your lungs, as well as the damage they have caused to the organs so far. They may also employ other medical tests and exams to evaluate your health, such as blood and breathing tests so that you will receive a correct and accurate diagnosis.

Our attorneys provide victims of toxic exposure with quality legal assistance

If your occupational exposure to harmful substances negatively affected your health, we understand that you’re going through an incredibly difficult time right now.

Whether you have been exposed to toxic chemicals in small quantities over a long period of time or a large amount all at once, the consequences can be devastating. You should consult an experienced lawyer to help you understand your rights, and provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions

In the regrettable case you developed a disease as a result of occupational toxic exposure, our attorneys, who specialize in toxic exposure cases, will help you recover the compensation you deserve. Although the legal process is complex, your involvement will be minimal, as you will only have to provide your lawyer with your employment and medical records, which will be used as evidence of toxic exposure and of related diagnosis.

Other related questions

The widespread public exposure to dangerous levels of PFAS chemicals has prompted the EPA’s release of a PFAS “Action Plan” in February 2019. The plan focused almost exclusively on the perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) the main precursors in AFFF.

Read more

A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed with the help of a specialized attorney by the surviving family members of a victim of AFFF exposure.

Read more

Disability compensation for exposure to AFFF is available only for firefighters who served in the military. However, civilian firefighters can also recover compensation by filing a lawsuit against the company which manufactured the product.

Read more

If you were exposed to AFFF by living in close proximity to a military base, which used the product, you do not qualify for compensation, as only firefighters and military personnel can take legal action.

Read more

Although the PFOS and PFOA in AFFF can be harmful to the human body in any amount, exposure needs to occur for several years for a person to develop cancer.

Read more

Exposure to PFOS and PFOA, the toxic chemicals in AFFF, can lead to the development of multiple serious diseases over the years, including kidney cancer and bladder cancer.

Read more

AFFF has been used for the last 50 years to extinguish class B fires by both civilian and military firefighters, as it is very effective. However, it contains PFOS and PFOA, two groups of dangerous chemicals.

Read more

The duration of the legal process in cases of AFFF exposure can range between several months to one year, depending on how many companies are responsible for your exposure, as well as on the severity of your diagnosis.

Read more

There are over 1.1 million volunteer and career firefighters throughout the country, out of which approximately 20% develop cancer as a result of AFFF exposure.

Read more

Factors affecting compensation depend on the severity and circumstances of the exposure. Diagnosis of the condition associated with AFFF exposure is one of the primary factors used to start the case.

Read more

See more questions