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couple consulting a doctor for reproductive health problems

How Workers Are Exposed to Job Hazards

If you work with chemicals, they can enter your body in three ways:

  • Breathing the chemical in
  • Coming in contact with the skin, especially if your skin is chapped, irritated, or if you have an open wound
  • Hand-to-mouth

Chemical exposures can cause health problems. Whether or not they cause health problems depends on:

  • What the chemical is
  • How the chemical enters the body
  • How long or how often a person is exposed to the chemical
  • How each person reacts to the chemical

Chemicals aren’t the only hazards at work

Some job exposures are not chemicals, but they may still affect your reproductive health. Some examples of these exposures are:

  • Radiation
  • Loud noise
  • Long working hours, shiftwork, or irregular work schedules
  • Lifting, bending, and standing

What you should consider

Answer these questions to start thinking about your workplace exposures:

  • What do you do in your job? What does your department or group do or make?
  • What are you concerned about in your workplace? Any information on product name, actual chemical name, or work condition would be helpful.
  • For chemicals, what form are the chemicals in: dust, vapor, liquid, gas?
  • How much time do you spend using each thing that you are concerned about in your workplace?
  • Do you use any personal protective equipment or other safety equipment while performing your job?