Toxic Dust and How to Protect Your Lungs

In a wide range of fields, workers are exposed to a variety of dangerous toxins in the air. As hazardous materials are inhaled, the lungs can receive both short- and long-term damage. In some industries, daily exposure to fumes or dust inevitably leads to respiratory problems and severe issues surrounding the lungs. Even basic tasks in a number of industries can expose workers to toxic substances.

Forms of toxic dust include:

  • Metallic Dust: Tiny pieces of lead, cadmium, aluminum, and other metals are released into the air when these materials are manipulated, and they can slowly poison workers who inhale them. Additionally, this dust can be highly flammable when exposed to an open flame.
  • Mineral Dusts: During the extraction of coal and other minerals, chemicals such as silica can be inhaled, leading to a range of occupational diseases.
  • Molds and Spores: Released, particularly in construction work involving an old or damp area.
  • Chemical Dust: Pesticides, solvents, and even paint can cause lasting harm to the lungs.
  • Vegetable Dusts: This may not sound threatening, but long-term exposure to dust from handling wheat, flour, wood, cotton, tea, grains, and other organic items can cause permanent harm. Dust accumulated during sugar processing has been known to be extremely combustible and has been involved in tragic workplace incidents.

Preventing toxic dust from forming is often more effective than treating the conditions that arise after workers are exposed, both in cost and disease prevention. Designing a workplace with toxic exposure in mind can greatly decrease the risk to workers. Other important safety precautions include adequate ventilation and wearing proper equipment such as respirators. It is important to ensure that toxic dust does not accumulate in the workplace, and that all workplaces subject to the accumulation of such toxic dust be cleaned prior to any maintenance.

Occupational diseases caused by toxic dust exposure include:

  • Pneumoconiosis
  • Scarred lung tissue
  • Asbestosis
  • Silicosis
  • Farmer's lung
  • Humidifier fever
  • Mesothelioma

Employers have a duty to assess any toxic dusts that workers are exposed to and take all available precautions to prevent lung damage. If you suspect that you and your coworkers were injured as a result of being exposed to dangerous workplace toxins, you may have grounds to file a legal claim. The attorneys of Arnold & Itkin have helped workers in a range of industries, such as construction, manufacturing, agriculture, and other fields to seek compensation for respiratory damages caused by negligence in the workplace. We can review your unique situation and determine if you have been harmed by unsafe practices. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

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