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Understanding take-home toxic exposure

Depending on your California job description and where you work, you may handle toxic materials every day. In all likelihood, you already know what preventative measures you should take to minimize your risk of toxic exposure, but are you aware that you could expose your family to these risks, too? Unfortunately, you could. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, take-home toxic exposure poses a major problem throughout America.

If you have never heard the term “take-home toxic exposure” before, it means that the toxins with which you come into contact every day at work could embed themselves in your clothing and shoes, thereby following you home and potentially harming your family members.

While you could take home a long list of toxins, the four most likely ones include the following:

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

All of these could severely damage your family’s health, especially that of your children.

Lead poisoning

Your children face the greatest risk of lead poisoning if you work around lead paints or other materials containing lead and tiny lead particles find their way into your home. The younger your children, the more negatively lead can affect them, up to and including causing them brain damage. In addition, should you or your spouse become pregnant, the toxins found in lead could severely damage your baby prior to his or her birth.

Preventative measures

Whatever preventative measures your employer has in place for your own protection against toxic exposure, you would do well to take the following steps to prevent take-home toxic exposure:

  • Wear protective clothing over your regular clothing while at work.
  • Take a shower and change your clothes before you leave work if your employer provides shower facilities.
  • If you must wear contaminated clothing and/or shoes home from work, change out of your clothes in your garage rather than in your bedroom or bathroom; leave your work shoes in the garage.
  • Take a shower immediately upon coming home so as to wash the toxins out of your hair and off your exposed body parts.
  • Always wash your work clothes as a separate load from the rest of the family laundry; likewise dry them separately.

When it comes to take-home toxic exposure, over-protection is far better than under-protection. After all, the health of your family members depends on the protective measures you take.

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