The Dangers of Working with Formaldehyde

From causing irritating side effects to potentially increasing the risk of cancer, formaldehyde exposure in the workplace can pose significant health risks.

Formaldehyde is a commonly used chemical in various industries, and exposure to it can have serious health consequences, including cancer. This article will explore what formaldehyde is, its uses, and the dangers of working with it. We will also provide tips on protecting yourself from formaldehyde exposure and information on seeking workers compensation benefits if you’ve been exposed to dangerous amounts of formaldehyde at work.

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Call today to speak with an experienced Missouri workers compensation attorney!

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What is Formaldehyde? 

Formaldehyde is a colorless gas made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen molecules that can cause irritation in the eyes and throat. It’s used in various industries as a preservative or sterilizing agent, including manufacturing furniture, paper products, plastics, and textiles. It can also be found in common household items like cleaning supplies and paint strippers.

OSHA Limits & Guidelines

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) limits the amount of formaldehyde that can be present in the air at any given time. These limits are measured in parts per million (ppm). For most industries, OSHA recommends keeping levels below 0.75 ppm over an 8-hour period; however, some industries require lower levels than this, depending on their particular needs.

Additionally, OSHA requires employers to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) such as respirators or masks if workers are exposed to higher levels of formaldehyde or for longer periods of time than recommended by OSHA standards.

Dangers of Working with Formaldehyde 

Formaldehyde exposure can cause irritating side effects such as watery or burning eyes, a dry throat, coughing, and skin irritation. Prolonged exposure can increase the likelihood of developing cancer.

 In fact, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has classified formaldehyde as a known human carcinogen because studies have found that it causes nose and throat cancers when inhaled over long periods.

Other potential health risks include eye damage, respiratory problems, neurological issues, and reproductive issues for both male and female workers. 

Ways to Protect Against Formaldehyde Exposure 

Fortunately, there are steps you can take both at work and home to reduce your chances of being exposed to dangerous levels of formaldehyde: 

  • Wear PPE: Make sure you always wear gloves, safety glasses, and any protective clothing your employer requires when working with any product containing formaldehyde.
  • Ventilate: Whenever possible, make sure ventilation systems are running properly so that fumes don’t build up.
  • Purchase Low-Formaldehyde Products: Look for products that contain low amounts of formaldehyde when purchasing new items.
  • Avoid Heating Sources: Heat sources like fireplaces should be avoided whenever possible as they can release large amounts of fumes into your environment.
  • Speak Up: Let your employer know if you feel unsafe while working with any chemical product so they can take action.  

Exposed to Formaldehyde? We Can Help You Seek Workers Compensation Benefits

If you’ve been exposed to dangerous amounts of formaldehyde at work, you may be eligible for compensation for your medical bills and lost wages due to missed work days resulting from your illness or injury caused by the chemical exposure. 

At The Law Office of James. M. Hoffman, we have over 30 years of experience assisting injured workers and understand how difficult these situations can be—that’s why we are here to help you seek compensation.  From collecting enough evidence to show that your illness or injury was caused by the chemical exposure to ensuring that all the paperwork is submitted in good time, we’ll work tirelessly to get you the justice you deserve.

Get FREE Legal Advice

Call today to speak with an experienced Missouri workers compensation attorney!

Call (816) 399-3706

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