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Steven M. Lee, PC

Toxic Exposure in the Workplace

Flask of toxic chemicalsEmployees throughout the United States are exposed to toxic substances at work on a daily basis. If an employer fails to provide adequate safety training and equipment, workers may suffer serious harm.

Types of Poisonous Chemicals

There are numerous types of poisonous chemicals that may be found in the workplace. Some of the most common harmful substances include:

  • BTEX compounds. BTEX stands for benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene. These compounds may be emitted during various oil and gas operations activities. Benzene is a known carcinogen, and toluene may impact the reproductive and central nervous systems. Ethylbenzene and xylene can have respiratory and neurological effects.
  • Acetone. Acetone is a mild central nervous system depressant. Small amounts can cause eye irritation, and very high concentrations may result in nausea, dizziness, headaches, drowsiness, and confusion.
  • Carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is produced during flaring and from oil and gas machinery operation. When inhaled, the gas inhibits oxygen transport by the blood, leading to dizziness, loss of consciousness, and even death.
  • Hydrogen sulfide. During oil or gas extraction, hydrogen sulfide may be emitted when gas is vented, when there is incomplete combustion of flared gas, or via equipment emissions. It has a rotten egg odor at low concentrations, and may be lethal if inhaled at high concentrations.
  • Nitrogen oxides. These gases are formed during the combustion of fossil fuels and flaring operations, and may lead to respiratory problems, heart conditions, and lung damage.

You Deserve a Safe Work Environment

Employers are required to follow Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines for the handling of toxic chemicals. However, companies sometimes make mistakes and accidents happen. If you’ve been harmed by exposure to toxic substances at work, you deserve to receive workers’ compensation benefits or pursue litigation to get a fair recovery for your injuries. These cases are often complex, requiring professional representation by an experienced attorney. To learn more about what the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., can do for you, visit us on Facebook.


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