Mould, Diesel Fumes & Toxic Dust Exposure

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Have you had any exposure to toxic substances such as beryllium, diesel fumes, medium density fibre board (MDF), mould, aspergillus or fungus such as aspergillus or other toxic dust, toxic fumes or toxic substances? Exposure to these types of respirable irritants and substances can cause personal injury.

There is medical evidence that shows a link between these types of exposures and development of certain diseases, many of which can be very serious, some of which can lead to premature death, some of which can lead to end stage or terminal disease. Substantial medical expenses can be incurred in investigating, diagnosing and treating such occupational diseases and illnesses.

It can be months to years between the exposure and the onset of symptoms.

Rogalski Lawyers have acted for hundreds of clients who have contracted various occupational diseases in a variety of circumstances, across multiple industries in different parts of Australia.

Rogalski Lawyers understand that there can be a lot of stress and anxiety as a result of exposure to various toxic substances. It can come as a big shock to you and your family if you are ever diagnosed with occupational disease. We are here to help and obtain justice and compensation on your behalf.


Beryllium is a chemical element and grey in colour. It is strong, lightweight and it has been used in a variety of different occupational settings.

Beryllium has been identified in a variety of industries and occupations. For example, workers who are employed at foundries, work on furnaces, machine operators, medical fabricators, military service men involved in abrasive blasting and welders. Beryllium guns for example were used in the blasting of paint of various Royal Australian Navy vessels. Many servicemen were exposed to Beryllium in this context.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies Beryllium as a Group 1 carcinogen.

Beryllium has been associated with acute Beryllium disease, chronic Beryllium disease (such as Berylliosis), lung cancer and other conditions.

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    Passive cigarette smoke exposure and inhalation

    Some people are exposed to significant amounts of passive cigarette smoke in the workplace. Workers or employees who are required to work inside confined environments with poor ventilation can inhale significant amounts of cigarette smoke leading to various conditions including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or emphysema through no fault of their own.

    Diesel fumes

    Diesel exposure can often occur as a result of work around diesel engine exhausts.

    The International Agency for research on cancer (IARC) has classified diesel engine exhaust as Group 1 carcinogen.

    Significant exposure to diesel fume exhaust can be endured as a result of working in confined environments around plant and equipment that uses diesel. Drivers who work and operate armed vehicles have sometimes been exposed to large amounts of diesel fume exhaust because of their requirement to park and work in confined areas (such as basements and other such areas) without appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) or sufficient ventilation. Other circumstances which can lead to significant diesel fume exposure include traffic controllers.

    Such exposure can lead to development of various respiratory diseases including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema.

    Medium Density Fibre Board (MDF)

    Medium Density Fibre Board exists on the market and is used in the constructions industry and many other industries. Various tradesmen including carpenters and shop fitters can work with MDF board on a regular basis.

    MDF board contains various toxic substances such as formaldehyde and such substances can be harmful to human health.

    When MDF is manipulated (for example cutting, sanding, rasping and machining) the small particles from the MDF board are released into the work environment. The concentrations of dust can vary but over time the exposure to and inhalation of MDF dust can be harmful to human health.

    There are studies which associate MDF dust exposure with symptoms arising from irritation and allergies. Formaldehyde, which is contained in a lot of MDF board, is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a Group 1 carcinogen. There have been medical studies commenting on the connection between MDF board exposure and risk of nasal cancer.

    Mould and fungus

    Mould and fungus can be found in the general environment. Mould can come in various colours including green, black and other colours. Mould and fungus can grow in places where there is a lot of moisture. For example, dark and damp places such as basements. However, mould can also grow inside ordinary living areas inside homes. Mould can release mould spores that can contaminate the breathing environment. Mould can often be found after heavy water inundation such as a flood, but it can also be found in other areas where there is ongoing moisture such as bathrooms and other wet areas inside the home. Mould can also grow inside air conditioning ducting and vents. Mould can contaminate not just the home but also the contents inside a home.

    It is important that mould and fungus is cleaned properly. If only superficial cleaning is carried out it may not eradicate the mould contamination and it can continue to become an issue and hazardous for human health.

    Mould can lead to various health problems including respiratory problems. There can be various allergies that can develop such as coughing, skin rash, watery eyes, shortness of breath and other such health problems. A number of conditions have been linked with exposure to mould including allergic bronchopulmonary aspergilllosis which can develop after exposure to aspergillus. It can also aggravate asthma. Other complications can arise including allergic fungal sinusitis and hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

    Occupational asthma

    Occupational asthma can develop as a result of exposure to many substances found in the work environment. The list is quite extensive, but a number of substances include toxic chemicals (paints, varnishes, laminates etc), metals (such as chromium and nickel sulfate), wood dust, formaldehyde and animal allergens. People who work as carpenters, sawmill operators, tanners, animal care workers, sanders and those in the automotive industry can be at risk of developing occupational asthma depending on the circumstances.

    It is important to ensure that appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is issued and worn in any environments which may trigger occupational asthma.

    Zinc Chromate

    Zinc chromate is a chemical compound which can be found in various coatings such as paints. Various industries are at risk including those in the maritime industry, mining machinery manufacturing, steel product manufacturing, heat treating and welders have been shown to fall within an occupational group with a very high incidence of disease. Zinc chromate contains the chemical element, chromium. The International Agency on Research on Cancer (IARC) has stated that there is sufficient evidence that chromium compounds are carcinogenic to humans.

    We have acted for various clients who were exposed to Zinc chromate. For example, many naval servicemen used zinc chromate paint on Royal Australian Navy vessels over many years. Such claims can be made against Comcare which is the commonwealth insurer for workers who are employed by the Commonwealth Government at the time of their exposure to various toxic substances such as Zinc chromate.

    Bitumen and Asphalt

    Bitumen and asphalt can be harmful to human health. Bitumen and asphalt can lead to the development of various conditions including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or emphysema. The symptoms can include breathing problems, headaches and various irritations to the eye, nose, throat and skin.

    Exposure to asphalt and bitumen can often occur where a person is required to work on a road gang during new road construction or resealing of roads.

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      Does it matter is I was exposed to dust, fumes or vapours in several locations across Australia?
      No. It is not uncommon to have an occupational history of exposure to dust, fumes and vapours covering different states and territories.
      Does it matter if I was a smoker?
      In many cases, it does not matter. For example, cigarette smoking is generally not connected to development of mould related disease such as aspergillosis or malignancies or cancers caused by exposure to substances such as Beryllium or Zinc Chromate.
      Does it matter is my former employer no longer exists?
      In a lot of cases, it does not matter if the former employer exists.

      For example, in Queensland there is an ability to claim on workers’ compensation policies that will respond to claims even in circumstances where the employer has stopped trading and is no longer registered. In many instances there are general insurance policies that exist which can cover claims arising from work related exposure.

      Each case is different and unique. It is important that specific advice is given for specific circumstances. Any delay in seeking professional legal advice could be prejudicial to your interests.

      What if I can’t remember much about my history of exposure to dust, vapours or fumes?
      We will work with you, witnesses and undertake any investigations and research as necessary to obtain as much information as possible for any claim for compensation. Just provide us with as much information as possible and we will guide you through the process. We also recommend that you register your exposure as quickly as possible in the event that a claim might be made in the future.
      Will I be charged for the initial consultation when seeking legal advice about a possible claim?
      No. Rogalski Lawyers offer a FREE initial consultation. If we can help, we will act for you on a “no win, no fee” basis. You are under no obligation to proceed after the initial consultation. There is no downside in speaking to us first to know your rights and entitlements.
      Can I claim on behalf of a loved one?
      Yes, in many instances you can lodge a dependency claim if a spouse, de facto, partner or other family member has passed away as a result of exposure to occupational dust, vapours or fumes. Each case is fact specific so you should seek professional legal advice in relation to your unique circumstances. Advice should be sought without delay to ensure that any entitlements to compensation can be protected.

      Free Case Assessment

      Call us today on 1300 848 424 to arrange your no-obligation free case assessment, or fill in our online form.