Some jobs put you at a higher health risk, like fighting fires, chasing bad guys, or construction work. Then there are jobs that put you at equal risk (possibly even higher), with “more hidden but equally sinister side effects.” (15 Jobs That Put You at a Higher Risk of Cancer)
Increased safety regulations over the past few decades have caused the rate of workplace-related cancers to decrease significantly, per the American Cancer Society. “Only about 4% of cancer patients in the United States can trace the origin of the disease to occupational exposure to cancer-causing substances, or carcinogens. However, those carcinogens can sometimes take decades to surface, meaning people who worked in various industries 40 years ago might just now be reaping the consequences” of those exposures.
Although contact with toxins are being regulated more carefully by organizations such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there is still risk for workers falling victim to cancer due to accidents, lax adherence to the rules or stress. “Pretty much every job comes with its own unique set of health risks, but these particular occupations could lead to certain cancers, such as lymphoma, leukemia, and other types.” (How Work Stress Can Kill You, Literally)
Here is a look at the five jobs that put you at the highest risk of cancer.
- Rubber Manufacturing
Some examples of these careers are: people making automobile tires, rubber gloves, rubber bands, and other rubber products that we use every day. “Rubber is made with myriad chemicals, and the process exposes workers to vapors, dusts, and chemical byproducts that evidently pose serious health risks.”
Studies show “excess deaths” from bladder cancer, stomach cancer, lung cancer, leukemia and lymphoma, “making jobs in the rubber industry some of the most exposed to carcinogens.” The CDC reports these toxins are not just inhaled, but can be absorbed through the skin as well.
- Agricultural Jobs
One study found that women had a 35% higher breast cancer risk, when working in agriculture. Another report showed women having “a higher risk of lung cancer, likely due to increased exposure to industrial chemicals, secondhand smoke, and even radon.” (15 Jobs That Put You at a Higher Risk of Cancer)
One Australian study showed that “agriculture was in the top five occupations for cancer risks in the country. Frequent exposure to engine exhaust, pesticides, fertilizers, and other elements were thought to play a key role in the high incidents of lymphoma, leukemia, and several other cancers.” (Time)
- Hairdressers and Barbers
A study published in 2009 by the US National Library of Medicine found barbers and hairdressers contract cancers of the lungs, bladder, and larynx at a significantly higher rate. Hair dye is one likely culprit, per the National Cancer Institute, due to the “repeated exposure to the chemicals in the dyes over prolonged periods of time.”
Because of the heat-resistant qualities, asbestos is sometimes still used for brake linings and clutch configurations. When those parts start “to disintegrate, or are replaced, the asbestos fibers can be released into the air – and mechanics’ lungs.” Mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer that can affect the abdomen, heart, or lining of the lungs, can be caused by asbestos. “That’s why, among other regulations, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires mechanics to use special procedures for brake and clutch repairs. This is especially true for shops that work with more than five such repairs per week.”
Besides the danger of asbestos, mechanics also come into contact with gasoline, in cleaning their hands, or in repair work. Gasoline “contains benzene, which is a recognized cause of certain cancers, such as leukemia, and some studies have linked a higher risk of those cancers to mechanics as a result.” (15 Jobs That Put You at a Higher Risk of Cancer)
- Construction Workers
Asbestos also can cause cancer in construction workers, during the process of remodeling. Some older buildings still contain asbestos, so remodeling jobs may pose problems, “until it is confirmed asbestos isn’t inside the structure where crews are working.”
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To learn more about what we can do for you, contact our offices to set up a free initial consultation. If you choose to work with us, we will handle your case on a contingent-fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless we make a recovery for you. To get in touch with us, you can call our offices at (843) 491-6025 or email us here.