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Does workers’ comp cover illnesses caused by mercury exposure?

| Apr 9, 2020 | Workers' Compensation |

Most New Jersey employees don’t give much thought to the metallic element mercury as it appears in the workplace. Since most jobs and careers don’t use much, if any, mercury, it is easy to see why workers don’t consider it a danger.

However, many industries still use this element, which means that employees may fall ill from exposure to the liquid metal or its vapors. Seeking benefits for mercury exposure through a workers’ compensation claim is possible. First, however, it’s helpful to understand why mercury your health in danger.

What does mercury exposure do to people?

Breathing in mercury vapors can harm the spinal cord, the kidneys, the eyes and the brain.

Significantly high exposure to airborne mercury vapor typically poisons quickly, causing symptoms like chest pain, difficulty breathing and coughing. Such exposure could result in chemical pneumonia, which is fatal in some cases.

Ingesting mercury compounds may lead to gastrointestinal illnesses, but even worse, it can also cause severe damage to the kidneys.

Which industries pose mercury exposure risks?

  • Facilities that recycle fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs
  • Electrical equipment manufacturing facilities
  • Healthcare facilities that use equipment containing mercury
  • Automotive part manufacturing facilities
  • Certain chemical processing plants that may use mercury
  • Dental office workers may face exposure from inhaling vapors ejected from amalgam fillings

If you believe you are suffering adverse effects from exposure to mercury at work, consider filing a workers’ compensation claim. If you have trouble acquiring your benefits, an attorney can help you appeal the decision and work towards getting your workers’ comp claim approved. A lawyer can also represent you during any proceedings necessary to ensure you get the benefits you deserve.

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