If your Illinois job requires you to work with or around toxic materials such as asbestos, you need to be aware that you can inadvertently carry these substances home with you, thereby contaminating your house or apartment and putting your family members at risk.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls this situation take-home toxic exposure and warns that it poses a huge problem for workers like you who face the constant risk of toxic exposure while on the job. Unfortunately, these toxins can become attached to your shoes and clothing and follow you home where they then disperse onto virtually every available surface, including your furniture, floors, counters and bedding, plus invade your home’s air ducts.

Inherent dangers

Take-home toxic exposure can result from any toxin, but the four most frequent sources are the following:

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

While all toxins can put you and your family at risk for serious diseases, lead poisoning poses the most danger to your children. In addition, if you are a man and your wife becomes pregnant, your unborn child can suffer numerous negative effects from lead poisoning even before his or her birth.

Minimizing the risk

To minimize the risk of take-home toxic exposure, you should always take the following precautions:

  • Wear protective clothing at work whenever possible.
  • Take a shower and change your clothes at work if your employer provides such accommodations.
  • If you must wear your work clothes home, make it a practice to change your clothes and shoes in your garage or a back door entry room.
  • When laundering your work clothes, do not mix them in with your family’s regular laundry. Instead, wash and dry them separately.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.