Washington, D.C.-based non-profit investigative journalism organization Center for Public Integrity recently released a series of reports titled Unequal Risk, which found out that 50,000 Americans are dying every year due to job-related exposure to harmful substances, which, the report states, are present in many types of occupations in the country – from medical work to automotive repair, a job in the retail industry to wood preservation.
The report says that the United States’ worker-protection laws regarding this violation have no teeth, and that companies who have been found in violation of such laws have only received a slap on the wrist. Because of this, some people who have been harmed due to exposure to toxic substances preferred to go to the courts over their plight. One of these people is 39-year-old Kris Penny, who lodged a legal complaint against Dallas, Texas-based multinational telecommunications corporation AT&T Inc. for having been exposed to asbestos while installing fibre-optic cable, resulting in him getting mesothelioma, a form of carcinoma of the mesothelium lining lungs, abdomen, or heart.
Attorneys at the Abel Law Firm say mesothelioma is not the only disease that a person can get from being exposed to a harmful substance, and it certainly isn’t the only one that can hurt one’s respiratory system. Other diseases that can affect the respiratory system include asbestosis, emphysema, decreased oxygen supply in blood, lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, and fibrosis. Possible contaminants include carbon monoxide (car exhaust, unvented or faulty furnaces), soot (furnaces, wood burning stoves), and radon (the ground), among others.
One’s renal system – the kidneys, urethra, bladder, and the ureter – also can be affected by harmful contaminants by inducing kidney tissue damage, kidney cancer, decreased formation of urine, decreased blood flow to the kidney, and decreased ability to filter water and waste from the blood. Possible contaminants include cadmium (old batteries, cigarette smoke), lead (oil paint, outdated plumbing), among others.