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Workers claim exposure to chemicals caused workplace illness

In 2014, approximately 100 workers in a Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) building had to relocate to another building due to exposure to trichloroethylene, a toxic chemical known as TCE. Reportedly, this chemical was used in the aircraft manufacturing process in World War II. The California Department of Toxic Substances Control says the Navy's ongoing cleanup project caused exposure. Now, some workers suspect they are suffering workplace illness due to TCE exposure, but they allege nothing is being done about it.

One of several workers reported that an information technology firm hired them last year to do contract work in a building at SPAWAR. Although their work does not involve chemicals, she and her colleagues suffer similar symptoms. She says they develop excruciating headaches along with dizziness within 30 minutes of reporting for work. Furthermore, she claims the symptoms only subside three or four hours after leaving the workplace environment.

The employee further claims that, after they filed complaints, they were ordered to keep health logs that had to be submitted to management. However, it is already six months later, and no action has been taken. The worker says the only response they received included multiple emails saying that the problem was receiving attention and was being addressed.

When workers are exposed to toxic chemicals, the adverse health effects can only be exacerbated if they continue working in such circumstances. Employees in California are entitled to safe workplace environments, and others in similar situations would likely visit their doctors for confirmation of workplace illness before pursuing financial relief. Proving it to be work-related may be challenging, but an experienced workers' compensation attorney can take over the navigation of benefits claims to cover medical expenses and lost wages.

Source: 10news.com, "Claims that SPAWAR employees have workplace-related illnesses, delays in testing", Jennifer Kastner, Feb. 12, 2018

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