Recent studies have found evidence of neonicotinoids, a farm pesticide, in Iowa drinking water. As the Washington Post reports, some hold this insecticide responsible for a decrease in the bee population after a study linked it to the death of local bees. Now, neonicotinoids are showing up in water samples across the country, including in samples of Iowa City tap water.
Some Iowa workers like yourself may be employed at locations with certain health risks. For example, if toxic fumes are present on your work site, you may have to take extra caution so as not to breathe in these fumes due to the damages they may cause.
In Iowa, ethanol production is a big deal. In fact, according to the Iowa Corn Growers Association, the state produces almost 30 percent of the nation’s ethanol, and about 43,000 workers in Iowa owe their jobs to this industry. Ethanol has numerous benefits for the environment when it is used as an alternative to gasoline, such as lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
As Iowa workers know, all jobs come with risks. But the potential of breathing in toxic fumes is one that many people aren't prepared to face. While risks with fumes are a well-known danger in certain areas of work, toxic fumes can occur at any workplace and can be caused by anything from industrial chemicals to drain cleaner.
While many jobs in Iowa have inherent risks, there are some positions that place the worker in more danger than others. One of the most hazardous types of occupational injuries occur to those working with toxic chemicals. While some positions may have a small exposure to these substances, other industries place employees in close contact with dangerous materials every day.
While many states across the country have health departments where bacteria and viruses are tested, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the national headquarters for public health. Since local and national laboratories work with dangerous and hazardous materials on a daily basis, scientists must follow certain protocol in order to prevent the spread and contamination of bacteria. Not only are these safety procedures in place to protect laboratory workers, but they keep the general population safe as well.
When employees work in an environment where they are forced to breath in toxins or are exposed to poor air conditions, they may develop chronic lung conditions over time. It is the employers’ responsibility to keep workplace conditions safe for their workers, and they may be forced to pay workers’ compensation if their employees contract a condition that affects their health and overall quality of life.
Most Council Bluffs workplaces do not have any problems related to toxins or chemicals, and their employees do not have to work in fear of being exposed to such chemicals. However, there are other workers -- especially those working in certain factories, industrial facilities, farming operations and construction sites -- who have to take special care not to suffer injuries related to toxic chemical exposure.
Whenever workers in Iowa and other states are exposed to hazardous substances, employers must ensure they equip them with the appropriate personal protective equipment. A company in a neighboring state may have to pay more than $240,000 for safety violations related to toxic exposure. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently released its findings in an investigation that followed an April incident.
Workers nationwide, including in Iowa, are covered by the workers' compensation insurance system. The insurance is carried by employers with the understanding that injured employees cannot file claims against their employers. Benefits can be claimed from the insurance program regardless of who was at fault. In rare circumstances, employees may have viable claims against their employers. Such may be the case in a claim of toxic exposure that was filed by a man in another state.