What is Toluene?
It is also known as phenyl methane or methylbenzene. It’s a water-insoluble and colourless liquid or solvent. The following are examples toluene can be found in:
- Nail polish remover
- Correction fluid
Toluene has several industrial and commercial applications.
Types of Workers who have a high risk to Toluene Exposure
If you work in the following industries, there may be a risk of toluene exposure:
- Dry cleaning
- Footwear Manufacturer
How the agent can enter the body
When you work with the above-listed industries, the risk of chemical entry to your body increases.
With low, inadequate or no appropriate safety measures implemented, the chemical agent can enter the body through:
In a laboratory setting, skin presents a significant route for chemical entry into your body.
The upper layers of the skin is a barrier to several chemicals.
However, some chemical solvents can penetrate through your skin. Example of the solution include:
- Toluene compounds
- Organic mercury
The molecular weight and lipid solubility of these chemical agents determines their ability to pass through your skin directly.
The most significant route of entry to the body is through inhalation for airborne substances, specifically solvent vapours like toluene.
There is a greater surface area in the lungs that enhances the absorption of chemical solvents.
The size and type of any airborne contaminants may harm the lungs through the passage to your lungs. Hence, they cause injury.
There is a possibility for pregnant women exposed to such a chemical to transfer or metabolize such agents through the placenta of the expected child.
This can lead to an impact on the unborn embryo or fetus.
Chemicals may enter the body through direct or indirect ingestion. Absorption of chemical agents through the digestive tract via ingestion have potential route entry exposure.
Exposed to Damaged Skin
Chemical agents may enter the body where they have contact with the damaged skin, For instance, abrasions and cuts.
There are risks in certain workplaces where contaminated sharps objects or tools are in use.
What are the Illnesses Caused by Toluene Exposure?
Inhaling and ingesting toluene concentration can result in several neurological and respiratory illness, including:
- Lungs, Liver and Kidney damage
- Mood swings
- Confusion, delusions, and hallucinations
- Asthma (occupational)
- Throat, nose, mouth and lungs inflammations
- Chronic fatigues
- Severely may result in deafness, blindness, coma and even death
The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Acts
What are the duties of employers?
Employers have duties to administer and monitor toluene exposure and to ensure employees stay under the exposure limits and work hours. Working hours should be 8 hours a day.
Employers have the duty of making policy and regulations that include the following:
- How chemical agent risk hazardous can be determined, assessed, and controlled.
- They should also provide adequate training to deal with accidents incidences, and emergencies.
Toluene Exposure Limits
The permissible limit is 200 ppm on average of 8 hours.
Law of Negligence
Negligence is the failure to practise a reasonable duty of care to avoid causing injuries or damage to somebody else. The fact of the accident occurring must have been reasonably foreseeable.
Case Assessment Advice
If you wish you can contact us by telephone or email and we will have an initial meeting with you to explore the facts and furnish a case opinion to you, and advise you about the process of an toluene exposure injury claim.
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