What are take-home toxins and what can I do about them?

Q:

What are take-home toxins, how can they affect me and my loved ones, and how can I prevent bringing them home?

A:

Workers can unknowingly bring home hazardous substances on their clothes, shoes, skin, tools, and vehicle interiors. These hazardous substances are known as “take-home toxins.”

Family members are vulnerable to these toxins, which can embed themselves in furniture and laundry, circulate through household air, and be transmitted by person-to-person contact.

Health impacts from bringing workplace hazards into the home can be temporary or permanent. In some cases, physical symptoms may arise many years after initial exposure. Lead is one toxin where ingestion can cause physical and mental development problems in children. In high doses, it can be fatal. According to the EPA, “lead from paint, including lead-contaminated dust, is one of the most common causes of lead poisoning.”

OSHA has standards aimed at preventing take-home occurrences in construction (1926.62) and general industry (1910.1025), and can impose stiff fines on employers who don’t follow them. The requirements in these standards include:

  • Providing workers a place to change into clean clothes to avoid contaminating their street clothes
  • Providing appropriate shower and hand washing facilities
  • Controlling dust and fumes
  • Testing the worksite for hazards
  • Administering proper training

Employers also need to make sure that workers are given the right PPE to avoid the toxins coming into contact with the garments underneath. They should also require employees to don and doff them on-site so they don't leave work still wearing them.

Workplace hazards shouldn’t come home and workers need dependable protection they can trust.

Do you work in painting, construction, or other jobs that may result in lead exposure? Are you unsure of how to select the appropriate protective garments or PPE for the hazard? Learn more about painting, the hazards that painters face, and how to select the right protective garments to protect yourself and others in DuPont Personal Protection’s upcoming webinar: Are You Sure Your Painters Are Fully Protected?, Thursday, February 1st, 1pm ET.

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