When we get hired for a position or venture to work every day, we do not think about the potential risks and dangers we might encounter. Even if some of these risks are apparent and inherent in the place of employment, employees do not think about this on a daily basis. Nonetheless, the daily exposure to certain work environment dangers could add up over time. For example, in certain industries employees are likely to breathe in toxins in the air. While the small amounts exposed to each day does not amount to much, but over a course of years or decades, this could develop into a serious and even deadly workplace illness.
Work-related lung disease is often associated with employees that work in mines and around chemicals and asbestos. However, those working with styrene, which is a compound that is used extensively in plastic and rubber used in car, food packaging, boats and numerous other products, is linked to asthma and an irreversible lung disease known as obliterative bronchiolitis. And with the growing amount of plastic-based products on the market, there is a growing concern for the risks associated with the exposure to the chemicals used to make them.
Current studies have shown a link between obliterative bronchiolitis and work-related exposure to styrene. This is a rare lung disease and is marked by the scar tissue and inflammation in the small airways. This can make it very difficult to breathe. Studies have proven that 87 percent of those involved in the case suffered lung disease as a result of styrene expose. Additionally, 75 percent of the cases in the study suffered asthma as a result of styrene exposure.
A work-related illness is not only unexpected but it can be overwhelming to accept. If the disease is serious, this could greatly impact the worker’s ability to live a long and healthy life. It might also require much missed work to obtain the necessary and ongoing medical treatments need to address their health concerns. Thus, employees should note their rights and options in the matter. Seeking workers’ compensation benefits could help address damages such as medical bills and lost wages.
Source: Cbia.com, “Research Suggests Link Between Work-Related Styrene Exposure and Lung Disease,” May 24, 2017