When is a chemical toxic?

When discussing toxic substances, the more of a substance that is in your body, the more it will affect you. This correlation between the effect and the amount is known as the “dose-response relationship.”

When a toxic chemical is inhaled, there are four factors that determine how much of the substance will enter the body. These factors are:

— The amount of the chemical present in the air.

— How heavy and deep your breathing is.

— How much of the substance is absorbed after inhaling it.

— How long you are exposed.

Obviously, when toxic substances are present, limiting one’s exposure as much as possible is best. With some chemicals, a short amount of exposure will cause effects on the body. Some chemicals are hazardous because of how they accumulate in the body. Others may not give the body a chance to repair the damage caused by exposure.

The effects of some toxic chemicals take years to see. For some chemicals, all of the effects on the body are not known. This can make establishing a relationship between illness and chemical exposure difficult. On many worksites, workers are exposed to multiple toxic chemicals and that can make establishing the relationship described above even harder. Not everyone reacts to toxic chemicals the same way, either, which can make research more difficult, too.

If you have been injured or suffered an illness due to exposure to a toxic chemical at work in Pennsylvania, you have a right to workers’ compensation. Should your claim be denied, a lawyer can help you file an appeal to get you the benefits you deserve.

Source: Purdue University, “Understanding Toxic Substances: An Introduction to Chemical Hazards in the Workplace,” Washington Strate Department of Labor and Industries, accessed Feb. 17, 2016

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