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What is “take-home” toxic exposure?

When you go to work in Iowa, your workplace may expose you to toxic chemicals. If so, you face a high risk of taking these toxins home with you on your skin, hair, clothing and shoes. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains, when these toxins invade your home and build up on your floors, furniture and in the air you and your family breathes, they can harm your family members, particularly your children.

The four most common types of toxins you can bring home with you from work are the following:

  1. Lead
  2. Pesticides
  3. Asbestos fibers
  4. Beryllium

Danger to children

While “take-home” toxins can make any member of your family sick, they pose a particular danger to your young children. Why? Because little ones spend lots of time on the floor, have small and undeveloped bodies and immune systems, and invariably put things in their mouths, including their hands that can become covered with these toxins.

As you probably already know, lead poses one of the biggest dangers to children. It can damage your children’s brains. It can also damage your unborn child if you or your spouse is pregnant. Your risk of bringing lead home from your workplace is greatest if you work in construction or as a painter, home renovator or battery or electronics recycler.

Preventative measures

If at all possible, wear protective clothing while at work so that toxins have less chance of contaminating your clothes. Also do the following:

  • Take a shower before leaving work if you have access to one; if not, at least thoroughly wash your hands before you leave.
  • Change your clothes and shoes before going home.
  • Keep your work clothes and shoes separate from your clean clothes and shoes.

If you cannot do any of the above, change out of your work clothes and shoes in your garage before entering your house. Then take a shower immediately. Make sure to wash your dirty work clothes separately from your other clothes and those of your family.

While this is educational information, not legal advice, it can help you understand “take-home” toxic exposure and how to prevent it.

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