Chemical hazards come in many forms, such as asbestos, acids and certain vapors. Chemicals have the potential to enter the body and can cause harm ranging from breaking out into rashes to developing life-threatening illnesses.
Chemicals enter the body in several ways. Some enter through the mouth when you breathe. For example, if there is asbestos dust in the air, you could inhale it into your lungs.
Another way chemicals enter the body is through skin or eye contact. Chemicals are absorbed through the skin or into the eyes, where they then pass into the bloodstream.
Finally, chemicals may enter the body through oral means. If you swallow chemicals, they enter into your body and pass through your digestive system. Chemicals often enter this way when they're contaminating your food, drinks or are present on your hands.
Chemicals can cause long-term health consequences
Although chemicals help industries build and develop new products, they can lead to serious health consequences. In the short-term, people may have acute reactions, like difficulty breathing or burns. Chronic or long-term injuries take place over time and may emerge suddenly after years of exposure. It's possible to be affected in both ways.
The health consequences of chemical exposure can't be overlooked. If you're working in an environment where you're exposed to chemicals, it's vital to use protective equipment to keep yourself safe. If you're harmed, you may be able to seek workers' compensation from your employer or seek compensation through other means if you are no longer employed through the business. Your health is important, and your employer has a responsibility to keep you safe.
Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "Understanding Chemical Hazards," accessed Feb. 09, 2018