Signs of chemical exposure illness

Whether you work in a refinery or chemical plant or live near this type of facility, you could be at risk for chemical exposure. For example, a refinery leak can cause significant illness for those in the immediate environment. 

Know the signs of chemical exposure illness so you can protect yourself and your family members. 

Chemical exposure symptoms

The health effects of chemical exposure vary dramatically depending on the specific substance or substances. You may experience: 

  • Dizziness 
  • Cough 
  • Headache 
  • Burning that affects the throat, nose or skin 
  • Detection of a chemical taste or odor 
  • Burning or tearing eyes 
  • Skin effects, including rash, itching, blistering, redness, dryness or swelling 

Steps to take

If you or a family member develops the symptoms above with no known cause, visit the doctor right away. The diverse signs of different types of exposure sometimes make chemical poisoning difficult to diagnose. However, a health care provider can conduct blood tests and may provide referral to a specialist if necessary, especially if your home or workplace is near a known oil or chemical leak site. 

Research by the University of Colorado also found a higher risk for cancer among individuals who live near oil and gas facilities. The scientists theorize that higher than recommended levels of exposure to benzene and other gases potentially leads to the development of tumors and abnormal cells. 

If you develop this type of illness, you may have legal recourse against the refinery or chemical plant responsible for your exposure. A personal injury lawsuit in Louisiana covers medical bills, lost wages and other associated costs of disability.