Have You Been Exposed to Hazardous Chemicals? How to Identify Risks and Symptoms

News » Have You Been Exposed to Hazardous Chemicals? How to Identify Risks and Symptoms

Chemical Exposure/Inhalation Risks and Symptoms

There are man-made and naturally-occurring chemicals everywhere in the environment.

Most of these chemicals are harmless, but certain chemicals can pose a threat to human health and may result in permanent medical conditions or even death.

Chemical Exposure/Inhalation Risks and Symptoms A person wearing a white lab coat and latex gloves uses a dripper to add a solution to a glass beaker containing a reddish liquid.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) keeps track of injuries and fatalities related to chemical exposure.

Many of 2019’s cases of chemical exposure involved dangerous chemicals, such as arsenic, lead, ammonia, asbestos, or cadmium.

These types of chemicals can cause severe and lasting harm and are commonly cited in chemical exposure lawsuits on behalf of those affected.

The National Poison Control Center reports that in 2018, their representatives provided telephone guidance and assistance to almost 2.1 million people who were exposed to chemicals.

Review the information below to learn how to identify the symptoms and risks associated with chemical exposure.

How Does Chemical Exposure Happen?

Since chemicals are all around us, chemical exposure can happen anywhere.

It becomes dangerous when an unsafe chemical enters the environment or a person is exposed to a relatively safe chemical at an excessive or unsafe level.

Chemical exposure in the workplace is common because there are oftentimes dangerous chemicals in the supplies workers use on a daily basis.

Solvents, cleaning solutions, fuels, and paints contain chemicals that can cause injury.

If harmful chemicals become airborne and are inhaled through the lungs, they may cause painful side effects.

Chemicals may also be present in water due to environmental pollution and, once they’re ingested, they can cause harm to the digestive system and other areas in the body.

Chemicals in the soil can also affect the water and food supply and chemicals in food can cause illness or even wrongful death.

What Are the Symptoms of Chemical Exposure?

Chemical exposure can cause different symptoms depending on the chemical a person was exposed to and the severity of the exposure.

In some cases, a person may not exhibit any signs of chemical exposure while others may display severe side effects.

It is important to understand common types of chemical exposure and the associated symptoms to determine whether you have a personal injury claim due to toxic exposure.

Headaches, Dizziness, and Disorientation

When a person breathes in a chemical that’s irritating, it’s likely they’ll develop a headache from this exposure.

A chemical exposure headache is common when a person is exposed to solvents, such as mineral spirits, without proper ventilation.

Dizziness or disorientation may also occur due to chemical exposure.

While waiting for medical treatment, a person suffering from headache, dizziness, or disorientation should sit down close to the ground to avoid a fall.

It’s also important to relax and stay calm while waiting for medical intervention.

Cough or Sinus Issues

When harmful chemicals are present in the air and inhaled, they’re likely to cause a cough or sinus issues.

Dangerous chemicals or high levels of chemicals that are airborne may cause the nose or throat to feel dry, itchy, and irritated.

If a person is experiencing a cough or sinus issues after exposure to chemicals, they may need to drink water and sit down while waiting for medical personnel.

It’s important that the person immediately leaves the area to prevent additional chemical exposure and worsening symptoms.

Skin Conditions

When a dangerous chemical touches your skin, the area may turn white or red and cause a painful personal injury that needs treatment.

It could be itchy or a rash may appear.

Depending on the chemical you were exposed to, your skin could also blister or swell.

One way to determine if you’ve experienced a chemical exposure or burn on the skin as opposed to simple skin irritation is the location of the blemish.

Your skin will only be red or swollen in the area where the substance touched you.

Don’t touch or scratch the area and wait for medical personnel to treat it properly.

Eye Irritation

When you’re exposed to airborne chemicals or a chemical physically splashes into your eye, it may cause discomfort, pain, redness, or tearing.

While you wait for medical treatment for your eye irritation, be sure to mitigate additional exposure by leaving the area.

Try washing the eyes out with clean and fresh water.

However, don’t touch or rub your eyes, especially with unsanitary hands, because you could cause additional irritation.

Chemical Tastes or Odors

If you’ve been exposed to a chemical, it’s possible you may continue smelling or tasting the chemical long after exposure.

A chemical odor or taste may persist because the chemical is still present in the air or in your body in some way.

For example, formaldehyde is a chemical commonly used in man-made materials, such as carpet, countertops, or kitchen cabinetry.

It can remain in the air for a long time, causing chemical odors to linger.

Aftertastes from foods with chemicals may also linger.

For example, drinking a wine that’s high in iron may cause a more prominent aftertaste with food, such as fish.

Chemical Exposure Treatment

If you or someone you’re with has been exposed to chemicals, it’s important to take action immediately.

To treat chemical exposure, follow these steps:

  • Identify the symptoms: Figure out what symptoms are related to the situation, such as difficulty breathing, coughing, a skin rash, or burning eyes. Identifying the symptoms will help you decide how to proceed.
  • Find the source of exposure: Locate the chemical that’s causing these harmful effects and stop the exposure. If the chemical can be contained, seal it in an airtight container. If not, move locations to get away from additional exposure.
  • Request medical treatment: If you’re in the U.S. and suspect chemical exposure, call the National Capital Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222. A position control expert will give you advice on how to mitigate the exposure and where to seek medical treatment.
  • Contact your healthcare provider: If you have symptoms that persist, you didn’t seek treatment at the time of exposure, or you feel you need additional treatment, contact your healthcare provider. You may need a prescription for an antibiotic to prevent infection or pain medication so you’re more comfortable as you heal.

If you were exposed to chemicals through no fault of your own, you may need a reputable injury attorney to help you pursue legal action.

If chemical exposure could have been prevented by a business owner, a premises liability attorney may be able to help you seek compensation for your medical expenses.

When other injuries are involved, such as birth injuries due to chemical exposure, an experienced lawyer can help you seek damages.

Chemicals are everywhere and chemical exposure may cause unrelenting and painful side effects.

It’s important to understand the symptoms of chemical exposure and how to treat them to prevent further harm.


Related Posts

Workers Killed, Others Injured, in Georgia Factory Liquid Nitrogen Leak

February 3, 2021
Learn More

February 3, 2021

Workers Killed, Others Injured, in Georgia Factory Liquid Nitrogen Leak

Cancer Alley: Causes and Effects of the “Chemical Corridor” in Louisiana

August 20, 2020
Learn More

August 20, 2020

Cancer Alley: Causes and Effects of the “Chemical Corridor” in Louisiana

iPhone 11 Radiation Lawsuit? Researchers Find Dangerous Levels

March 4, 2020
Learn More

March 4, 2020

iPhone 11 Radiation Lawsuit? Researchers Find Dangerous Levels

Engineered Stone Fabrication Workers In Danger of Lung Illness, Silicosis

October 2, 2019
Learn More

October 2, 2019

Engineered Stone Fabrication Workers In Danger of Lung Illness, Silicosis

Beach Park Chemical Spill Sends 40 to Hospital, 7 in Critical Condition

April 26, 2019
Learn More

April 26, 2019

Beach Park Chemical Spill Sends 40 to Hospital, 7 in Critical Condition


Tom Lewis

TorHoerman Law was responsible for handling a medical case for our family. I was extremely impressed with their professionalism and ability to react quickly. They also did a nice job keeping us updated with the case throughout the process. This was the first time experiencing a situation like this and Tor Hoerman law did an excellent job from start to finish.

Jordan Terry

TorHoerman Law is an extraordinary law firm – a firm that truly makes the client’s best interests the primary concern. Their team of personal injury lawyers are experienced, personable, and well versed in a range of litigation areas. They are supported by a dedicated team of staff that are as equally friendly and helpful. I would recommend TorHoerman Law for any personal injury litigation needs.

Dave Woodley

All of my questions were answered quickly and in a way I could understand. Steve and the entire staff were friendly and professional.

Jordan Butler

I highly recommend this law firm! The attorneys and staff at THL worked hard, communicated every step of the process, kept me well informed at all times, and exceeded all expectations! The staff is kind, considerate, professional, and very experienced. Look no further, call now!

Maddy Moeller

Top-notch, hardworking attorneys!

Karen Hersman

A wonderful and professional legal team. They helped me when I needed expert legal representation! Thank you TorHoerman Law!

Angel Truesdale

They contacted me the next day. Very nice people!