There are many potential risks if you work around chemicals. For instance, some workers suffer serious burns if their skin touches those chemicals. This is why having the right personal protection equipment is so important.
However, even just breathing in the chemicals can cause a condition known as chemical pneumonitis. This can take two different forms, and it’s important to understand each of them.
An acute condition
First and foremost, chemical pneumonitis can be an acute condition. If you breathe in certain chemicals, you may immediately start coughing and having trouble breathing. This can come on very suddenly, and you need to seek fresh air as soon as you can. You may need medical treatment, and that can mean missing some time at work.
A chronic condition
Secondly, you could have chronic pneumonitis or long-term pneumonitis. This is most common when people are exposed to a low level of chemicals for an extended period of time. If you’re breathing it in just a little bit at a time, you may feel fine while you’re actively working, but the long-term effects could include things like lung stiffness, inflammation and a lack of oxygen. In some cases, this chronic condition could even lead to respiratory failure. It can be fatal.
What can you do?
If you are suffering from a serious condition that has made it difficult to work and increased your medical bills, you may have a right to workers’ comp. This may also be true if you have lost a loved one to chemical pneumonitis. Be sure you know what steps to take.