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Cadmium Exposure

Cadmium is an element that occurs in the earth's crust and has been used in paints for years. Cadmium is now used as an electrode component in alkaline batteries and is often used as a pigment for paints or coating. Sometimes, it is used in platings or as a stabilizer in some plastics. The OSHA says that workers in many industrial jobs are at risk to cadmium exposure. This element can be very dangerous, leading to serious medical conditions like cancer or kidney dysfunction. In some cases, cadmium can cause lung cancer, prostate cancer, or local skin and eye irritation. It can also affect a person's long-term health when it is inhaled or ingested. Most cadmium enters the victim's system through inhalation.

Workers at Risk to Cadmium Exposure

Many different industries use cadmium, and workers can inhale the element when on the job. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry estimates that more than 500,000 workers in the United States face exposure to cadmium every single year. Individuals who are at risk to cadmium exposure are those involved in:

  • Painting
  • Ceramics
  • Welding
  • Metal Machining
  • Plastics Manufacturing
  • Smelting Metals
  • Electroplating
  • Refining Metals
  • Industrial Plant Operations
  • Battery Manufacturing
  • Coating Manufacturing

Preventing Cadmium Exposure

The OSHA and other worker's safety agencies are working hard to reduce the amount of cadmium exposure in the workplace. The OSHA has created a cadmium standard that has three elements. The OSHA has a limit on the amount of cadmium that can be in the air and requires airborne exposure on workplaces where the element is present. OSHA also demands that there be respirators available for any workers who request one. Employees who are at or above the action level for cadmium more than 30 days per year must also be put on a medical surveillance program. The action level is 2.5 micrograms per cubic meter of air which is calculated at an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) exposure.

As well, OSHA has set a permissible exposure limit (PEL), which is the limit that defines how much cadmium a worker can be exposed to in the workplace. This limit is a time-weighted concentration that must not exceed an 8-hour work shift or a 40-hour work week. The PEL is set at 5 micrograms of cadmium per cubic meter of air. This is the limit for all cadmium compounds, dust, and fumes. A third limit is the Separate Engineering Control Air Limit or SECAL. The SECAL is a separate exposure limit that is given to places where it is impossible to achieve the PEL of 5 micrograms per cubic meter. If a workplace fails to stay within these limits, the supervisor or manager can be cited as a result.

OSHA also instructs all supervisors at locations where cadmium is present to provide respirators to all employees who request one. All workers should also be given property protective clothing and must remove all work clothing / equipment at the end of a shift in a changing area designated for this purpose. Changing rooms at factories where cadmium is present must have separate storage areas for other clothes that are not near the contaminated clothing.

Employers must also clean and maintain all protective clothing and equipment by washing the clothes at least once a week and repairing or replacing outfits as necessary when there are tears or rips. Employees who are exposed to cadmium above the PEL are also required to shower at the end of their work shift and may not eat, drink, smoke, chew gum or tobacco, or put on makeup before they wash their hands and face to rid them of cadmium dust or residue.

Talk to a Skilled Industrial Injury Lawyer

If you are injured by cadmium exposure or develop a medical condition from cadmium, and your company did not follow proper OSHA procedure to prevent your illness, then you should contact an industrial injury attorney at Arnold & Itkin today. Cadmium can bring on long-term illnesses that can cost you hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in medical bills and medical attention. With a lawyer from Arnold & Itkin there to help you, you may be able to get all of these expenses covered and hold your company accountable for failing to follow federal guidelines.

Client's portion of total recovery may be subject to Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement claims, Medicare/Medicaid liens or other third-party claims or liens. These verdicts and settlements are intended to be representative of cases handled by Arnold & Itkin, LLP. These listings are not a guarantee or prediction of the outcome of any other claims.

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