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Lead still a serious danger to workers

Although the health risks associated with lead have been well-known and documented, New Jersey workers in certain occupations are still at a high risk for lead exposure. They should be aware of the unique health hazards posed by lead and how to prevent and deal with the issue.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the risk of lead exposure on the job is especially severe for workers in the manufacturing and construction industries. Employers in risky fields are required to monitor the work environment for lead and take steps to prevent exposure higher than that allowed by the OSHA. Unfortunately, employers commonly fail to correctly monitor for lead exposure and prevent toxic levels from affecting workers. Workers are advised to take an active role in preventing lead exposure. They may request proper or more thorough monitoring, shower after a shift and avoid bringing work clothes or tools home.

The problem with lead is compounded by the fact that toxic exposure may be very difficult to detect in a worker. Compared to other occupational diseases, lead toxicity is insidious and may not produce symptoms until it has reached a very advanced stage. Lead exposure also builds up over time, so even legal exposure limits may lead to health problems over a very long period. Once lead has reached a toxic level in the blood, it is extremely difficult to treat effectively, and prolonged treatment is often necessary. Lead toxicity may cause neurological problems, kidney damage and cognitive impairment.

An employee who suffers health problems due to lead exposure may wish to contact an attorney for help. The medical bills may be covered by workers' compensation benefits, and an attorney can help to ensure that the claim is filed on a timely basis and contains all required information.

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