Lung Disease: An Occupational Hazard for Painters

Painters often deal with a host of health risks while on the job. From climbing tall ladders to inhaling potentially dangerous fumes, painters are not unfamiliar with taking health risks. Exposure to certain, solvents, additives, pigments, and other materials that may contain asbestos can potentially lead painters to develop serious health problems, including lung disease and certain cancers. While new materials are now water-based and, for the most part, contain safe chemicals, painters will often work in buildings and homes that still contain older, more toxic materials.

When a painters take a job, it isn’t uncommon for them to sand, strip existing paint, and work around other invasive types of construction. In these situations, it doesn’t matter if the painter uses a safe paint or not, he or she is exposed to the materials existing in that building. Older buildings, or those with poorly-regulated construction, can contain toxic chemicals or materials riddled with asbestos. When painters are exposed to these types of working conditions regularly, the chances of developing a lung disease or cancer are high indeed.

Inhaling fumes, gases, dust, and other particles can be extremely irritating to the lungs, and may sometimes penetrate safety masks and other protective equipment. According to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, painters in the construction industry were exposed to high levels of paint dust containing traces of dangerous materials like lead, zinc chromate, and other inorganic dust.

Painters may develop the following lung diseases:

  • Aesbestosis
  • Silicosis
  • Allergic alveolitis

Research also suggests that painters face a much higher risk of developing cancer due to their exposure to certain toxins while on the job. The Swedish Cancer Registry found that painters and lacquerers faced a significantly increased risk of developing lung cancer. Also, the development of mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer, is also very possible if painters are exposed to products containing asbestos fibers.

All workers who regularly handle potentially dangerous chemicals, or are exposed to toxic fumes, should wear protective gear at all times. If you notice any shortness of breath, a persistent cough, chest pain, or other irregularities associated with the respiratory system, seek medical attention immediately.

If you were injured while working because of exposure to asbestos or other dangerous materials, our firm may be able to help. Contact Shrader & Associates L.L.P. to schedule a consultation with our experienced attorneys.

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