Do you or a loved one work in the flooring industry and you’re dealing with a serious disease diagnosis? Are you concerned your exposure to flooring solvents has damaged your health? You might be eligible for financial compensation via a personal injury claim.
Exposure to chemicals and dangerous materials is common in many industries, but until recently, flooring installers had no reason to believe they were facing any serious risk that could lead to a personal injury or illness.
Unfortunately, several flooring installation specialists throughout the Madison, St. Clair County and the city of St. Louis areas have been diagnosed with serious neurological issues, including Parkinson’s and Parkinsonism movement disorder. Some believe these diagnoses are a result of their frequent exposure to flooring materials.
Laminate Flooring Causes Special Health Concerns
There is some evidence that formaldehyde present in laminate flooring is of special concern. Formaldehyde is a colorless gas found in a variety of products. It is commonly used in the beauty industry, and repeated exposure can trigger respiratory issues, including symptoms similar to those asthma sufferers experience.
People who work with formaldehyde-containing products have also reported issues with fatigue, headaches, and insomnia.
Several studies have shown elevated levels of formaldehyde emissions throughout houses that contain laminate flooring. And though there is debate concerning the threat to homeowners, there is no doubt that repeated exposure to new laminate flooring can increase the risk of personal injury. New products present a higher risk for exposure because the problem dissipates over time. But installers are exposed to brand new products every day, putting them in a high-risk situation.
Protecting Yourself from Personal Injury or Illness in the Missouri Flooring Industry
Formaldehyde exposure is based on the level of formaldehyde present in the adhesive on the flooring, as well as how ventilated the work area is. According to the CDC, even minor levels of exposure can cause eye, throat, and nose irritation. If you notice any irritation while working, it’s important to bring fresh air into the environment.
California recognized the risks flooring installers were facing and implemented standards concerning formaldehyde emissions. Congress passed the Formaldehyde Standards Act which took California’s standards nationwide in 2015.
In order to avoid a personal injury or illness caused by repeated exposure, they advise installers to:
- Work in properly ventilated areas with open windows and the help of exhaust fans
- Keep the temperature and humidity level in the area low by using a dehumidifier
- Allow the flooring to “air out” before installation whenever possible before the installation process begins
- Choose flooring products with impermeable facing when possible
For years, flooring installers worked without these regulations in place and were exposed to dangerous chemicals. And even though the standards are now in place, there are still problems with exposure. In some cases, products have been mislabeled, and installers think they are working with safe products.
Those who put you or your loved one at risk should be held responsible for their actions, and you should not be forced to suffer any more than you already are.
Problems Go Beyond Respiratory Aggravation
In addition to the respiratory issues associated with formaldehyde exposure, there is also concern that long-term exposure could lead to the development of neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s disease and Parkinsonism movement disorder.
Parkinson’s disease is a nervous system disorder that is progressive and eventually debilitating. It affects body movement and develops gradually over time. Most people notice a problem when a slight tremor becomes stronger and more persistent. Other symptoms of Parkinson’s include:
- Slowed movement (bradykinesia)
- Rigid muscles
- Impaired posture and balance
- Loss of automatic movements
- Speech changes
- Writing changes
Flooring Products Not as Safe as Assumed
The extent to which exposure to dangerous flooring products can harm your health is still in debate. Some people believe even minor exposure can cause harm and homeowners with laminate flooring products installed in their homes have reported a variety of health concerns and respiratory problems. Many consumers develop asthma-like symptoms after having laminate flooring installed in their homes.
It is thought that over time, off-gassing from these products dissipates, but those who work in the flooring industry are constantly exposed to brand new products. This means they are breathing fumes from the boards every day, potentially at toxic levels. The work they do with the boards – cutting, sanding, etc. – makes the problem even worse because the chemicals become airborne.
Over time, this exposure leads to serious health problems. Flooring installers have been diagnosed with diseases that are likely linked to their work on a regular basis. People who were merely doing their jobs are now living with cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and other health problems because of their exposure.
Worst of all, there is evidence the risks were hidden from flooring installers. One investigation showed that Chinese manufacturers knowingly mislabeled boards as compliant when they contained toxic levels of formaldehyde.
You Might Be Eligible for Compensation
Everyone deserves to work in a safe environment. As a flooring installation specialist, you were assured the products you were working with were safe when, in fact, you were at risk every day. You deserve to be compensated for your injuries and to receive financial support to help you with your lifelong medical treatment. And if the worst case scenario occurred and you’ve lost a loved one to a medical issue related to this or her exposure to formaldehyde while on the job, you deserve to be compensated for your loss.
Our team of personal injury lawyers is in the process of investigating the risks flooring installers faced while on the job. We want to help those injured by these dangerous products receive the compensation they deserve. Our experienced attorneys will help you establish that your injury was caused by your work, and we’ll ensure your medical care is rightfully covered by workers’ compensation.
Unfortunately, many people who are injured on the job face challenges when trying to file a workers’ compensation claim. They might also find their injuries and illnesses result in more medical costs that were more than anticipated. Others are no longer able to work and might need assistance with long-term or permanent disability claims. We are here to help you get what you deserve.
Consult with a Missouri Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you have experienced any of the above symptoms or you are concerned your long-term exposure to formaldehyde in the workplace is causing health problems, we can help. Contact Walton Telken Injury Attorneys at 844.307.7349 for a consultation.