Every occupation has its hazards. For welders there is the chance of metal shavings in the eye. For contractors there is the risk of falling tools and stubbed toes. Even the chef must be prepared for burns. For plumbers, there are also hazards. Luckily, there are ways to be prepared for and prevent the hazards from becoming life affecting.
The number one concern for plumbers is exposure to toxic and hazardous substances. Lead is found in many solders and alloys that are used on pipes. It is completely odorless and lead poisoning does not strike all at once, but will instead build up over time. Once lead builds up in the blood stream the symptoms will manifest as vomiting, headaches, memory loss, constipation, and more. To prevent exposure to lead, always where masks and other protective gear and wash your hands after working around parts that may contain lead.
Exposure to mold
Exposure to mold is another plumbing hazard
that unfortunately, comes with the plumbers territory. Mold lives in places most homeowners rarely see. Mold loves kitchens, bathrooms, and basements. Some form of molds are more toxic than others, but there is no variety that is found in the home that should be allowed to hang around. When dealing with mold wear a respiratory and wash all clothes that may have been exposed to the mold to prevent it from spreading. Most commonly, mold exposure will have cold like symptoms… coughing, runny nose, sneezing, wheezing, and an itchy nose and throat.
Exposure to asbestos and other nasty stuff
Exposure to sulfur dioxide, carcinogens, solvents, and asbestos are also possibilities. Wearing the proper gear and practicing common sense will limit or prevent exposure to these hazards. Exposure to these hazards can lead to headaches, cancers, muscle spasms, and coughing. Routine checkups are a great way to make sure that exposure to these toxins has not done irrevocable damage.
Exposure to biohazards
When new pipes are laid in the ground or when septic tanks get replaced, there is the chance of exposure to biohazards, such as human waste. Not only is this a messy business, but there is no telling what biological hazards exist in one of the spaces. Gloves, masks, and rain boots will prevent most biohazards, but so will staying up-to-date on all recommended vaccines.
Exposure to bird and/or rodent droppings
From exposure to bird and/or rodent droppings, a plumber is at risk for contracting Histoplasmosis, Psittacosis, and the Hantavirus. Histoplasmosis affects the lungs and is a fungus. Also known as parrot disease, histoplasmosis is a variation of chlamydia that is transferred through fecal matter. Hantavirus causes a condition known as HPS. It is transferred through fecal and urine dust.
Other plumbing hazard
need to watch out for are slips, falls, electrical shocks, exposure to extreme temperatures, and working in confined spaces. Accidents will happen regardless of the career field someone chooses. But, by using proper protective equipment, these plumbing hazard can be limited and frequently prevented.
Hopefully, you will never have exposure to the more serious items on this list. If you or a co-worker does though, do not put off visiting the doctor. Those symptoms that seem like a cold could be an indication of something more serious. The only way to know for sure is to get routine health screenings and to visit the doctor if the symptoms persist for extended periods of time.