Most people have a tendency to focus on the physically strenuous nature of the offshore occupation. Maritime workers who are employed on rigs, tankers, and even shipyards are at an incredible risk for accidents that break bones, burn skin, and cause permanent debilitation. There is another type of risk that seamen are faced with on a daily basis, but often goes unthought-of because it cannot be seen. Toxic chemicals are very highly present in the offshore industry and can lead to serious worker illness after prolonged exposure.
Take those who work in the drilling industry. Natural oil and gas is actually considered a hazardous material. Every day, those who work on rigs are exposed to and are inhaling the gas fumes. Prolonged exposure of this nature can lead to a number of diseases and illnesses that can permanently place a worker out of a job or even result in their eventual death. Those who work in shipyards are at an equally great risk. Harbor workers are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of vessels that come into port. They may also be employed to load and offload the vessels. The chemicals that are used to repair these vessels can be anything from paint to industrial strength cleaning supplies. These workers may also be at risk for a number of occupational diseases.
There are many diseases that toxic chemical exposure can cause. The most serious is lung cancer. Pleural diseases are named such because they refer to the infected lining of the lungs (called the pleura). Pneumothorax is another type of pleural disease. This type of disease is not typically caused by inhaling toxic materials, but is rather caused by a traumatic lung injury. This results in an abnormal gas buildup in the chest that makes breathing difficult.
Another type of pleural disease is a pleural effusion, which is an excess buildup of fluid between the layers of the lungs. The more buildup there is in the lungs, the more difficult it is for the lungs to expand. These can typically be diagnosed after a chest x-ray. There is also the possibility of tumors in the pleural cavity, which is the most common diagnosis for those who have been exposed to toxic chemicals, especially asbestos.
One of the most common mix-ups is mistaking a pleural disease for bronchitis. You may be experiencing shortness of breath, a heaviness in your chest, coughing, wheezing, and even blood in your cough. The prognosis will differ depending on when the disease was discovered as well as the extent to which the individual was exposed to the toxic chemical. For example, if the toxic chemical was silica or asbestos, then the individual likely would not be displaying symptoms until up to 30 years later. This allows the disease to grow to a point that is difficult to treat once it is discovered. This type of cancer will need aggressive treatment. In order to get the best possible treatment for your occupational illness, our firm is prepared to fight on your behalf. These types of diseases are usually fairly serious, so taking action is necessary if you want to fight back for a recovery. Contact us today to learn more.
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