Connecticut workers have the potential to contract many serious illnesses on the job. Perhaps one of the most serious is lead poisoning. Such an occupational illness may have dire consequences for a Connecticut worker.

Lead poisoning occurs when a person inhales or ingests lead-containing dust or fumes. Lead may be accidentally ingested if a person’s clothes or hands are contaminated. Once in the lungs, lead then moves into an individual’s blood stream. Once in the bloodstream, lead can pose significant health risks for a worker. For example, an individual with lead poisoning may develop kidney disease or anemia. He or she may also suffer from major neurological effects or gastrointestinal effects. The long-term effects of lead inhalation can thus be quite serious.

Over 1.5 million workers have the potential for lead exposure, according to OSHA. Both construction workers and those who work in general industry may become exposed to lead when dealing with products or materials that contain lead, as may be common in many industrial jobs, particularly in the manufacturing sector. Lead is most commonly used in the United States for lead-acid storage batteries in automobiles. Additionally, pipes, fishing weights, and ammunition may all also contain lead. Those who work in the construction industry may become exposed to lead paint, even though it is no longer permitted to be used, if they are tasked with demolition or renovation of older buildings that still contain lead paint.

Workers covered under OSHA’s regulations must be protected from lead exposure by their employers. There are stringent permissible exposure limits in place to protect workers from this potential work-related illness. Nonetheless, excessive exposure does occur. If you have ingested lead at your workplace and become ill as a result, you may be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits. In these instances, an attorney may be able to offer guidance regarding your rights and options.

Source: OSHA, “Safety and Health Topics: Lead,” accessed March 4, 2016