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Additional risks for factory workers who have smoked

Smoking can cause cancer and numerous breathing-related and pulmonary issues.

Some jobs carry more risks than others, and for people who worked in certain industries and occupations, smoking is an additional risk.

Steelworkers are exposed to many pollutants through different industrial processes. Plastic molders, textile mill workers, welders, rubber factory workers, painters, insulators, ironworkers, are also exposed to a variety of occupational hazards at work.

The purpose of this blog post is to raise awareness of the dangers that lay behind smoking in certain working industries that deal with chemical exposure.

Chemical exposure is a serious risk that many factory workers face

A recent study examined the smoking rates in different industries and occupational groups and found that factory workers had a higher smoking rate than the national average at the time. The serious and wide-ranging dangers of smoking are enough reasons to avoid doing it, whatever your job, but for factory workers, it just adds to the existing risks of the job.

In many cases, factory workers are exposed to many different chemicals, and may also inhale dust particles that can cause breathing problems and lead to lung diseases such as lung cancer. While in some cases exposure to hazardous agents can result in immediate injuries as it is in the case of chemical burns, in the majority of cases, toxic exposure takes its toll over time.

Inhalation is the main path of entry of the toxic substances into the body; having reached the lung, the substances may remain stored in the lung tissue indefinitely. Even relatively low-level chemical exposures, if repeated over the course of years and years of employment, can lead to life-altering medical conditions.

The interaction between smoking and exposure to occupational carcinogens

Factory workers were often involved in various activities that implied exposure to hazardous substances such as asbestos. The high rate of smoking among factory workers is of particular concern, given that many are exposed to occupational carcinogens, which might increase disease risks associated with smoking.

Although there are many different occupations in which exposure might occur, along with a wide range of possible levels of exposure, differences between the effects arising from the inhalation of carcinogen agents of smokers and non-smokers have been reported, and studies have been conducted aimed specifically at elucidating the combined effects of smoking and chemical exposure.

Exposure to carcinogens carries a risk of:

  • mesothelioma
  • lung cancer
  • stomach cancer
  • breast cancer
  • colon cancer
  • diabetes
  • asthma
  • tuberculosis
  • pleural/parenchymal fibrosis

Researchers showed that cigarette smoking is an added hazard among factory workers. Individuals with a well-traced history of toxic exposure who also smoked cigarettes are at an appreciably higher risk of developing lung cancer because of the synergism between intoxication and cigarette smoke compared to individuals who only smoked cigarettes.

If a person with lung cancer had both a significant smoking history and significant toxic exposure history, the question that arises is which exposure caused the person's lung cancer - smoking or toxic exposure?

The answer is both. Smoking impairs lung function and damages the lungs at the cellular level. Toxic exposure to asbestos alone can cause enough genetic and cellular damage to cause lung cancer. Together, exposure to toxic substances and smoking multiply the chances of developing lung cancer significantly.

If you were exposed to toxic substances and you were/are a smoker, you are eligible for compensation

The physical and emotional toll connected with treating a disease associated with smoking is high and is often magnified by financial stress.

Many of our toxic-exposed clients diagnosed with lung cancer are current or former cigarette smokers. If you worked in an industrial setting, were exposed to chemicals, and got diagnosed with lung cancer, we can help you obtain compensation whether or not you are a current or former cigarette smoker.