Lead Exposure Injuries at Work.

ADULT OCCUPATIONAL LEAD EXPOSURE

Many occupations involve lead exposure or potential lead exposure.  Obviously lead mining, refining and smelting present risks of exposure.  Many electricians can be exposed when their work includes lead splicing (“tinning”) or working in areas where this work is performed.  Other high-risk jobs include artists, auto repairers, construction workers and many others.  Employers are supposed to provide warnings and safety precautions, but this is not always done.  Recently, the lawyers at DeBlasio & Gower worked in consultation with lead trial counsel Charles L. Cannon who obtained a significant settlement for an electrician who sustained permanent, disabling injuries from exposure to lead at work.

Symptoms commonly associated with adult lead poisoning include numbness, tingling or burning sensations in the hands and arms; cognitive dysfunction (brain fog) with difficulty remembering or concentrating; headache; vomiting; dizziness; tremor; and other symptoms.  Lead poisoning can also cause kidney failure, seizures and anemia.  Seek medical treatment immediately if you or a loved one have experienced these symptoms under these work conditions.

Lead is highly toxic and it is known that there is no “safe” level of lead in the body.  Even what was once thought of as “low levels” of blood lead are associated with adverse central nervous system (“CNS”) effects.  The lead in the blood can cause nerve damage to sense organs and nerves controlling the body.  This nerve damage leads to neurodegenerative disease, impaired cognitive function and other injuries.

Lead is known to cause sudden seizures and a sudden onset of slurred speech, one-sided weakness of the body, ataxia and other symptoms.  It is reported in the literature that this “mimics” an acute stroke and can be misdiagnosed as a stroke.  Lead exposure also causes high blood pressure and aggravates pre-existing high blood pressure.  This lead-related high blood pressure can cause a stroke or increase a victim’s risk of a stroke.

Occupational lead exposure most frequently causes lead poisoning when the lead dust or lead fumes are inhaled, or when lead on the hands is ingested when the worker eats.  Lead-related injuries can be acute or chronic.  An acute injury is generally when a worker receives high amounts of lead over a short period of time, hours or days.  A chronic injury is generally when a worker is exposed to lower levels over weeks, months or years.  Both types of lead exposure can cause severe injuries in adults.  Small amounts of lead exposure can compound over long periods of time and can be even more harmful than acute lead poisoning.  Lead toxicity has been diagnosed among workers with workplace exposure levels below the currently permissible exposure limits established by OSHA.

The lawyers at DeBlasio & Gower LLC are dedicated to obtaining the justice you deserve in lead poisoning cases.  For a free consultation in a lead poisoning case, you may contact our founding partner, Antonio DeBlasio, directly at 630.560.1124 or via email at deblasio@DGLLC.net.  For more information on our law firm, visit our website at www.DGLLC.net.  We look forward to discussing the merits of your case with you.

Authors:  Attorneys Antonio DeBlasio (DeBlasio & Gower LLC) and Charles L. Cannon (Mahoney, Crowe, Goldrick & Cannon, P.C.)

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Sources:

NIOSH, Lead. 1998.  https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/lead/default.html

Landrigan PJ, Todd AC.  Lead Poisoning. West J Med 1994; 161:153-159.

De Souza A, Desai P, Adult Lead Encephalopathy. Neur Res 2013; 35(1); 54-58.

Kumar S. Encephalopathy due to Inorganic Lead Exposure in an Adult. Jpn J Med 1987; 26(2):  253-254.

Manorenj S, Lead Poisoning Presenting as a Mimic of Acute Stroke. World J Pharm Med Res 2016; 2(4), 139-141.