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What workplace substances can cause respiratory ailments?

Have you recently experienced a scratchy throat or upper respiratory irritation? Such symptoms are often associated with colds or other minor conditions. However, if these issues continue to exist over a prolonged period, you may be suffering from something more serious, and it could be related to your work environment.

Those who have jobs in areas that are enclosed or have poor ventilation can be especially at risk if exposed to certain elements in the air. But even workers who perform their tasks outdoors can suffer respiratory problems if they breathe in pollution.

But what specific elements found in a work environment could give you respiratory issues? Here is a brief list of substances of which you should be aware:

  • Smoke, produced by burning organic materials.
  • Dust, which can come from a wide variety of sources such as coal, wood, asbestos and cotton.
  • Gases, which are often produced at job sites that require high levels of heat, such as those where furnace work, welding, oven drying and smelting are conducted.
  • Fumes created by quickly heating and cooling metals.

These are just a few examples. There are other substances such as gases and vapors that can also cause problems.

It is important to understand that exposure to these elements can do more than produce irritating symptoms. It is possible for workers to suffer serious permanent injuries or perhaps even develop some form of cancer. For this reason, if you start to experience symptoms that you believe are related to your working conditions, it is very important to report the issue to your employer and seek a medical examination.

If you should suffer serious or permanent respiratory damage caused by your working conditions, you will likely need to pursue a level of recompense sufficient for your long-term needs. An Illinois workers' compensation attorney can help you make a claim that accounts for the full measure of your injuries. The attorney could also represent your interests if you should have trouble receiving the funds you are due.

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