Facts on PCB Related Illnesses at Work

What is PCB? Where is this used? As a worker exposed and suffering from the effects of PCB, what steps can I take in order to make a work related illness claim?

What is PCB?

PCB means Polychlorinated biphenyls. It is a compound that contains a hard to destroy high degree of electrical and heat resistance. They are commonly used for heating and electrical equipment like a refrigerator and consumer electronics such as rubbers, dyes, plastics and paints. This chemical is a perfect insulating materials and does not burn up easily. Ineffective control on disposal of the PCB has caused this chemical to be widely spread in the environment. Commercially, PCB’s are no longer manufactured because of the evidence that it can cause cancer, chloracne, immune deficiency, birth defects and impaired neurological development. It is also considered an environmental hazard.

Who are often exposed to this?

Firefighters and some manufacturing workers are often the victims of this chemical due to leaks and transformer fires. Occupational exposure to this type of chemical means one is exposed to PCB and thus incurred illnesses because of this. This may be in the form of indoor air supply of the job, hazardous waste sites, or while working on old electrical or fluorescent devices and PCB transformers. Exposure may also occur in the form of food, surface soils, groundwater and drinking water, in the workplace and indoor air.

What happens when one is exposed to this?

One may experience acne-like skin disorder especially among adults. In children, exposure to this chemical may be in the form of neurobehavioral and immunological changes. Effects on the neurological development of children is evident through: babies being born earlier (premature), smaller head circumference, low birth weight, depressed responsiveness, poor short term memory and impaired visual recognition. Its cancer causing characteristic is not just for human beings but for animals as well. Liver damage is also part of the symptoms that one has been exposed to PCB.

What should one do once exposed to PCB?

It is very important that one should be given medical attention once exposed to PCB. Equally important is the filling out of the work accident book in order to aid in work related illnesses claim also known as compensation. Some details needed to establish the claim are: proof that the exposure suffered can really cause injury, proof of injury itself, the foreseeable risk that such injury may take place etc.

At this point, it will really be helpful to find expert solicitors to help out in making the claims. Making a claim would definitely require proof of PCB exposure which may be done through a medical test. This may be very expensive and very few laboratories do this. The presence of PCB in the body may be detected through blood test and through other tests in breast milk and body fat. It would be wise to seek the help of expert solicitors in order to make the compensation claim a faster and worry free process.