Roofers and other construction workers exposure to toxic fumes emanating from hot asphalt may result in serious medical complications requiring long term medical care and treatment. There are approximately 3,500 hot mix asphalt facilities in the United States and more than 7,000 paving contractors employing more than 300,000 workers.

Most of the asphalt in the United States is used in either to paving of roads or roofing operations. According to estimates by the CDC up to 50,000 roofers are exposed to asphalt fumes every year. Other use includes insulation, damp proofing and water proofing. Below is some helpful information regarding construction site exposure to toxic fumes from asphalt. If you have suffered injuries due to exposure to toxic fumes from asphalt contact our workplace injury attorneys at the Farzam Law Firm.

Exposure to Asphalt Fumes and Vapors:

According to the Center for Disease Control, asphalt fumes are “a cloud of small particles  created by condensation from the gaseous state after volatilization of asphalt”. Asphalt requires heating before application to intended surface. When the product is heated, toxic vapors and fumes are released.  Based on OSHA standards, exposure to toxic substances need to be inspected by the employers, including the taking of airborne samples. Common medical issues associated with acute exposure to asphalt fumes may include:

  • Lung Cancer;
  • Respiratory ailments;
  • Harmful skin irritations through dermal exposure;
  • Eye irritations;
  • Emphysema.

Health Risks of Long Term Exposure: Long terms exposure to asphalt fumes have been shown to cause significant harm to the body including loss of bone marrow, anemia, low white blood cell count and fertility issue amongst woman who are exposed.  Long term exposure to toxic asphalt fumes have also been linked to an increase in the rate of certain cancers.

Signs and Symptoms of Long Term Exposure to Hot Asphalt Fumes: Specific symptoms may include:  headaches, nausea, chronic fatigue and drowsiness. If you are experiencing medical issues or injuries from workplace exposure to toxic fumes, contact and seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Proper Safety Precautions that Should be Taken by Contractors on Construction Sites

There are several steps which can be taken in order to reduce the prevalence of toxic fume exposure amongst workers roofers, pavers and other workers on construction sites. Some important safety tips are as follows:

  • Asphalt kettles in places as far away from workers as possible;
  • Set kettles in level grounds in order to avoid spillage or tipping over;
  • Make sure workers are provided proper safety equipment, including face masks, goggles and protective clothing;
  • Workers use respirators when necessary;
  • If possible use a fan to divert the fumes away from workers;
  • Workers should always shower after work to wash off particles that have settled on their skin.

If you have any further questions and would like to file a work compensation claim against contractors and construction site operators for your injuries contact our employment injury attorney at the Joseph Farzam Law Firm.