Ask the Attorney:
Can I Get Workers Compensation for
Exposure to Cleaning Products?
If you are unable to work due to a lung or breathing problem that was caused by your employment, you can collect workers compensation.
While this sounds straightforward, the difficult part can be proving that your breathing or lung condition was the result of your working conditions.
In this article our experienced Long Beach workers’ compensation attorneys explain how you can collect workers’ comp for exposure to cleaning chemicals in the workplace.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease – typically called COPD – refers to a number of lung diseases that limit airflow and make it difficult to breathe. COPD includes bronchitis and emphysema. While COPD cannot be reversed –new advancements in treatment are being developed every year.
Sadly, COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Eleven million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COPD, and it is estimated that millions more may have the disease and not realize it.
Workers Compensation for Exposure to Cleaning Products
Unfortunately, workers’ compensation insurers often try to deny a valid workers comp claim by asserting that the COPD is not the result of the performance of work duties. They may try to blame the lung disease on smoking, or exposure to toxins at home.
But if you and your attorney can prove that chemical exposure in your workplace is what caused your COPD, you will qualify to collect Workers’ Compensation benefits.
It is important to understand that exposure to bleach and other cleaning products can increase your chances of COPD or other fatal lung disease by almost a third. Breathing bleach fumes also increases the occurrence of smoking-related conditions by a third.
This means that certain types of workers may be at greater risk of developing COPD due to workplace exposure. Janitorial workers, custodians, laundry workers and day porting staff are the first employees who come to mind when considering exposure to cleaning products.
However, nurses, dental hygienists and other medical personnel who routinely sterilize surfaces are also at risk of COPD from workplace exposure. Disinfectants such as glutaraldehyde (used for medical instruments), as well as bleach, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol and quaternary ammonium compounds (aka “quats”) can also cause lung disease.
Waitresses, busboys, dishwashers and other food service workers may also regularly be exposed to bleach and other cleaning and sanitizing products.
Studies Prove Workplace Cleaning Products Cause COPD
Previous studies had linked exposure to disinfectants with breathing problems such as asthma, but a recent study led by Dr. Orianne Dumas of the French National Institute of Health has brought attention to the fact that cleaning supplies also can cause COPD.
That study showed that exposure to cleaning products was associated with an increased risk of COPD of between 24% and 32%. The study also found that nurses who use disinfectants to clean surfaces at least once a week – had a 22% increased risk of developing COPD.
Collecting Workers Compensation for Cleaning Product Exposure
If you have developed COPD and you were exposed to cleaning products, bleach, disinfectants or other toxic chemicals at work, it is important to discuss your case with an experienced workers compensation attorney.
An experienced attorney can help you “prove” that your COPD, asthma, bronchitis, or other lung disease is the direct result of exposure in the workplace. An experienced Workers Compensation attorney knows how to handle problematic Insurers, and how to submit your medical records and documentation, to get your Workers Comp claim approved.
Long Beach Workers Compensation Attorneys
Our experienced Long Beach Workers Compensation attorneys have helped thousands of men and women across Orange County and Los Angeles collect the workers compensation they deserve. Call our Long Beach Workers Compensation attorneys today for a free consultation.
Long Beach Workers Compensation Attorneys: 562-622-4800