In the summer of 2013, a manufacturing plant batch maker was overcome by toluene vapor after opening a large, above ground storage tank. He subsequently died of what was determined to be toluene intoxication.
Toluene is a clear liquid that turns to vapor when exposed to air. This can create serious health risks for workers who breath in the fumes of this chemical. Exposure to toluene can also occur from skin absorption or accidental ingestion.
Toluene can be found in:
- Paints and paint thinners
- Metal cleaners
- Nail polish
Health Effects of Toluene Exposure
Those who accidently splash toluene on their skin or in their eyes will have immediate side effects, such as headaches, confusion, anxiety, and dizziness.
However, long-term exposure is more serious, and can lead to:
- Miscarriages and reproductive system damage
- Liver and kidney damage
- Damage to the central nervous system
- Inability to sleep
- Impaired vision and hearing
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recognizes this, and has set exposure limits to prevent the consequences of long-term toluene exposure. However, it should be noted that illness can still occur from exposure to lesser levels.
Workers who believe that they have been injured due to exposure to toluene should consult with a Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyer who can help to determine what compensation will be needed to move forward with treatment and recovery.
Those who work with toluene, even in safe levels, can further decrease their risk of exposure by working with their employer to take the following precautions:
- Substitute paint or glue product for one that is toluene free
- Avoid spray application of products containing toluene
- Make sure area is well ventilated
- Wear protective clothing, including gloves, when working with toluene
- Reevaluate current operating procedures for exposure risks
Common industries where workers are at risk of toluene exposure include salons, maritime occupations, as well as construction.
However, workers are not the only people who may be at risk for high levels of exposure to toluene. Toluene can be released into the environment through air, water, or soil by places where it is produced, used, or stored. This can happen through spills or leaking underground storage tanks.
Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Advocate for Workers Suffering from Toluene Exposure
If you have become ill from exposure to toluene in the workplace or you have suffered another injury on the job, a Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. is ready to assist you with filing a claim, disputing a denied claim, or discovering other avenues of compensation. Call us at 803-929-3600 or 866-881-8623 or submit an online inquiry form today.
From our six office locations in South Carolina we serve clients throughout the state, including those in Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and the areas of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.