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How might workers be exposed to lead?

Of late, there has been a renewed interest in the devastating effects of lead poisoning. The tragedy that has unfolded in Flint, Michigan, where the water supply was tainted with toxic levels of lead, has served as a grim reminder of the harm that can result from exposure to the metal. And while what happened in Flint is disturbing, the fact is that lead exposure is more common than you may know. And depending on your work environment, you too may be at risk.

Lead is a metal commonly used in a variety of businesses and industrial processes. And according to OSHA, 838,000 workers in the construction industry and 804,000 general industry workers are at risk of lead exposure.

For example, construction workers can come in contact with lead when handling lead pipes or when working on buildings that are painted with lead pigments. General industry workers can encounter lead in rechargeable batteries, plumbing fixtures, solder and radiators.

Typically, exposure to lead occurs when breathing in dust and fumes that contain particles of the metal. Lead can pass through the lungs and into the bloodstream, where it can damage internal organs.

Workers who experience lead exposure can suffer from such issues as kidney disease, anemia, gastrointestinal effects and even neurological problems. Therefore, if you suspect you have symptoms of such ailments, it is important to seek a professional medical diagnosis.

The effects of lead poisoning can have serious long-term implications. You may be required to undergo extensive, costly treatment. So, if you believe you are suffering health issues due to lead exposure at work, you may want to contact a workers' compensation attorney. The attorney could investigate the situation and help you pursue appropriate recompense.

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