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Long-term consequences of toxic exposure

| May 7, 2021 | Workers' Compensation

Occupational exposure to toxic chemicals can cause a range of severe conditions, from burns to cancer.

Unfortunately, the risk of injury or illness does not necessarily end when a worker leaves their job. For instance, a recent study revealed that exposure to the insecticide DDT could increase the risk of cancer for generations.

Study findings

The study goes back to 1959 when researchers started looking at pregnant women exposed to DDT, a synthetic insecticide that has been discontinued in the United States.

They found that pregnant women with higher levels of DDT were more likely to have overweight granddaughters with early-onset menstruation. These are two significant factors in the development of breast cancer and diabetes. 

The exposure affects not only a woman’s fetus but also the fetus’s ovarian follicles, making the health risks span generational lines.

Who is at risk?

While DDT is no longer approved for use in the U.S., at one time, it was regularly used in the military and the agricultural industry. 

And DDT is hardly the only insecticide linked to severe health complications. Currently, there are numerous claims against the makers of the Roundup insecticide, which researchers tie to increased cancer risks.

In other words, anyone who has been or could still be exposed to these powerful insecticides could be at an increased risk of getting sick.

Protecting against occupational illnesses

If you work in construction, agriculture, automotive or industrial industries, you could work with or around toxic chemicals. Employers should comply with the strict guidelines in place to protect people from harmful exposure, but parties do not always do this. And accidents can happen. 

If you believe you or someone in your family has been exposed to toxic chemicals on the job, it is crucial to file a report right away. If you get sick, you could seek workers’ compensation benefits to cover the costs of treating your illness.

Beyond seeking financial compensation for yourself after a toxic exposure incident, filing a report help protect other workers by calling attention to an unsafe work environment, which can prompt corrective actions and penalties for negligent parties.

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