The workplace can be a dangerous environment. It is a place in which we can encounter many chemicals that have the potential to cause human harm. This can range from a bottle of bleach being used to clean the toilets coming into physical contact with a person, or the inhalation of gasoline fumes if you need to travel often during the working day. Toxic substances being used in the work place is an area known as occupational toxicology, and has been greatly researched by toxicologists. Such research has been done in order to try and understand the affects of certain chemicals, in order to ensure that they are all right to be used, and that they are provided with suitable packaging information.

Toxins in the workplace

There are certain occupational environments in which you are more likely to come into contact with harmful substances. Factors you may need to think about include:

  • Asbestos – This is often found in older houses, in which asbestos may have been used for insulation, pipes and floor tiles. This is a poison that is inhaled and can lead to conditions such as cancer. Asbestos will typically have delayed health affects.
  • Lead poisoning – Lead is used in the production of batteries and other metal devices. It can be inhaled through lead dust and elements of lead can sometimes be found in drinking water. Possible affects include sickness, headaches, harm to the kidneys and damage to the brain.
  • Legionnaire’s disease – This is a bacterium that can be found in places such as plumbing systems, air conditioning units and warm water tanks. This can cause a fever, pneumonia and muscle pain.
  • Mold – Mold is a fungus that is capable of growing and remaining in a place where there is moisture. This can lead to the production of poisonous toxins. Mold has the potential to cause an allergic reaction or asthma attack.

Safety in the workplace

In order to prevent being poisoned in the workplace you should wear eye and face safety equipment, foot protection, the necessary safety clothing and any other equipment you are required to wear. If you do not wear safety gear then the consequences can be dire. An employer should always provide you with the required equipment, and you should report them if they do not.