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Chemical exposure can lead to workplace illness

Most Connecticut residents go to work expecting to do their jobs and feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. They most likely do not expect to go to work and come home sick and suffering. Unfortunately, however, some Connecticut workers may develop occupational illnesses that stem from the workplace, particularly if there are chemicals present on the jobsite.

An illness is work-related, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, if an aspect of the workplace contributed to the illness, caused the illness or aggravated a pre-existing condition. There are a number of common types of occupational illnesses that can affect workers who regularly interact with chemicals or other potentially toxic substances.

Respiratory conditions may arise if a worker is exposed to fumes, chemicals or other hazardous biological agents at work. A worker who has exposure to such substances may suffer from occupational asthma, toxic inhalation injuries, tuberculosis, asbestos-related illnesses or a number of other serious conditions. Physical contact with chemicals can also lead to certain skin diseases or disorders such as eczema, chrome ulcers or contact dermatitis, among other ailments.

Toxic substances and chemicals may cause tremendous harm if they are ingested or absorbed into the body by a worker. Poisoning may occur in a worker who is exposed to lead, mercury, arsenic, carbon monoxide or hydrogen sulfide. Workers who spray insecticide may also develop abnormal concentrations of the spray in their systems, leading to negative health consequences.

A Connecticut employee who has developed a workplace illness stemming from exposure to chemicals or other dangerous substances may be eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits. The employee may wish to speak with an attorney to discuss their rights.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Occupational Safety and Health Definitions," accessed Sept. 20, 2015

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