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 Chandler Duncan

What are the most common workplace, toxic agents?

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

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

Signs of toxic overload

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?

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

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 or military records, which you must retrieve, and your medical records, which will be used as evidence of toxic exposure and related diagnosis.

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