Occupations in some industries pose known risks of exposure to carcinogenic toxins. Coal miners and firefighters are just some of the workers whose jobs expose them to cancer. Along with arsenic, carbon monoxide and formaldehyde, many other substances can cause cancer.
However, many workers in Georgia are not even aware of the risks of bodily harm or life-threatening diseases like cancer they face each day. Even if your job seems safe, it could expose you to hazards that can harm your health.
Jobs that pose cancer risks
You cannot protect yourself if you are unaware of the risks you face. If you work in any of the following occupations, your employer should inform you of all the potential hazards and provide safety training on exposure prevention:
- Desk jobs: Although sitting at a desk for more than six hours per day does not necessarily cause cancer, it could significantly increase the risk. You can mitigate the risk by taking frequent breaks throughout your shift to walk and move around.
- Painters: If you are a painter, the materials with which you work might contain carcinogenic substances like benzene, which poses lymphoma and leukemia risks, and also arsenic — a carcinogen according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Additional studies link painters to increased risks of kidney or bladder tumors and multiple myeloma.
- Construction workers: Many older buildings have roof shingles, floor tiles, pipe insulation and other asbestos-containing building materials of which you might be unaware, and health damage could only become evident years after exposure. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration deems asbestos exposure a significant concern because it can cause gastrointestinal cancer, mesothelioma, and lung cancer.
- Agricultural workers: Several studies have linked aggressive prostate cancer and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma with pesticides. As an agricultural worker, you need protection against chemicals, such as glyphosate, in common pesticides and insecticides.
- Rubber manufacturing: An Occupational and Environmental Medicine journal published an article that links employees in rubber manufacturing plants to increased risks of lung cancer, leukemia and bladder cancer.
- Lifeguards: Your job as a lifeguard will expose you to dangerous UV rays of the sun — most harmful between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Sunscreen with a high protective level is crucial for prevention of skin cancer.
- Undertakers and morticians: If this is your occupation, breathing formaldehyde fumes will pose a significant cancer risk.
- Pilots: You may not be aware that your exposure to UV radiation in the cockpit is significantly higher than in any other job. It will put you at a high risk of skin cancer.
- Nail-salon workers: Studies show that nail-salon workers risk exposure to more carcinogenic chemicals than workers in oil refineries and auto garages. Cancer-causing agents like benzene are present in the polishes and astringents, exposing you to hazardous fumes.
If you earn your income in any of these industries, you can take your own precautions, but also insist that your employer protect your health and safety. Some occupational cancers are progressive, and diagnosis might occur long after you have left the employ of the business where the exposure took place. That can complicate any claims for compensation. Fortunately, an experienced Georgia workers’ compensation attorney can provide the necessary support and guidance to help you with the navigation of a claim for maximum benefits under applicable laws.