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ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH CONCERNS AND TOXIC CHEMICALS WHERE YOU LIVE, WORK, AND PLAY

Construction

What is it?

More than nine million U.S. construction workers build and maintain houses, roads, workplaces, and other projects. They include brick masons, carpenters, drywall installers, iron workers, plumbers, roofers, and welders. Electricians, engineers, and painters also work in construction. They can all be exposed to health and safety risks on construction sites. 

See also: Ammonia Diesel Methanol Solvents Acetone Asbestos Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) Arsenic

Why is it a concern?

Workers may be exposed to harmful chemicals that are in construction materials or are released during construction. Safety concerns in construction include falls, vehicle accidents, electrocution, machinery, falling objects, noise, and trench cave-ins on construction sites. 

Who is at risk?

  • Construction workers
  • Other people who access or pass near construction sites  
  • People doing home renovations

What pollutants are of greatest concern?

Reduce your risk

  • Do you live near a construction site?
  • Is your home undergoing renovation?
  • Avoid unnecessary access to construction sites. 
    • Only trained professionals should access construction sites. 
    • Keep children away from such sites.
  • Use a certified and insured professional contractor, especially in any renovation that might have asbestos exposure.
  • Use solvents and chemical products safely.
  • Know the risks of your construction project and take steps to minimize the risks.
  • Reduce the risks of fires on construction sites.
  • Wear proper protective gear.
  • Maintain fall protection systems.

Keep children away from construction sites.

National Library of Medicine Resources and Databases
  • Occupational Health
    Curated links to current consumer health information on occupational health. These English and Spanish web resources include background information, prevention and risk factors, related issues, specifics, statistics and research, clinical trials, journal articles, key terms, relevant agencies, targeted resources for women and seniors, and patient handouts.
Additional Resources
  • Construction Safety and Health
    National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
    Compilation of resources aimed at improving safety and health conditions for construction workers.
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