Every day, workers are exposed to a variety of hazardous substances on construction sites. One such hazard is lead, commonly used in pipes, paint, and other commonly-used construction materials. Although lead is extremely useful, it is also highly toxic, with the odds of adverse health effects increasing with the duration of exposure.
Lead Poisoning Is Common in the Construction Industry
Particles of lead are most likely to be released during demolition, salvage, renovation, and cleanup. The welding and cutting of some metal alloys can shed particles of lead, contaminating a worker’s clothes, hair, tools, or even the food they eat. Employees who are not properly protected or work on an unsafe construction site could also inhale toxic quantities during the application or removal of lead-based paints.
Lead poisoning has been linked to a variety of health conditions, including:
- Organ damage. Once lead has entered the body, it can be circulated throughout the bloodstream and become lodged in the organs and bodily tissues. As more and more lead is absorbed, irreversible damage may be done to the liver, kidneys, and heart.
- Neurological problems. Short-term exposure to high amounts of lead can damage the central nervous system and cause impaired brain function (encephalopathy). After just days of exposure, a victim can suffer seizures, coma, or even fatal cardiac arrest.
- Reproductive problems. Lead can damage both male and female reproductive systems, increasing the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth in women. Children born to parents who suffered lead exposure are more likely to have birth defects or developmental delays, as well as higher rates of infant mortality.
Workers on New York City construction sites are protected by many different safety and liability laws, and have the right to proper compensation when serious injuries occur. To find out what you may be owed, simply fill out our quick contact form or call (800) 362-9329 to speak with a lawyer at Hofmann & Schweitzer today, or learn more about your rights in our FREE brochure, Hurt in a Construction Accident? You’re Not Alone.