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Is your career as a painter responsible for your lung cancer?

On Behalf of | Dec 20, 2021 | Workplace Risks

Most people react strongly to the odors produced by liquid paint products. Those smells are the result of volatile organic compounds dissipating into the air from the liquid paint.

The longer you have worked as a painter, the higher your tolerance has probably become for those strong smells. While you may not have a personal aversion to the smell of paint any longer, that doesn’t mean it is safe for you to constantly inhale paint fumes.

If you live a relatively healthy life but have worked as a painter for years or did paint work in the past, is there a chance that your job may have contributed to your lung cancer?

Research connects professional paint work with future lung cancer risk

When someone develops cancer, their diagnosis often comes long after their exposure to dangerous agents. The slow development of cancer and the delays in diagnosis that people frequently experience can make it hard to conclusively establish a cause for every case of cancer.

However, researchers have looked at the long-term lung cancer diagnosis rates in professional painters and have compared those rates to the general public. Even when correcting for the number of painters who smoked tobacco products, there was still a strong association with increased lung cancer risk.

Although most professional painters will never have serious health effects, a small portion may suffer from debilitating illnesses because of the chemical exposure they endured on the job. Connecting your medical condition to your work is often the first step toward obtaining workers’ compensation benefits for a serious work-acquired illness.