You may have an idea in your head for what occupational disease means. We've covered the topic on this blog in the past, mentioning common exposure risks and diseases that many have heard of and associate with certain types of work.
However, not all exposure comes from the type of work sites you many think. Today we have an example of police offers being exposed to an irritant.
The Star Tribune reports that four officers fell ill from "noxious emissions" from a suspect's vehicle. Following a chase, four officers approached the vehicle and had to be hospitalized after they fell ill due to breathing in toxic fumes. Luckily, the officers were not seriously harmed, and were released from the hospital the same day.
Investigators determined that leaking propane tanks and spray-paint cans caused the toxic fumes.
While this is a unique story, and one you don't often see even in the police field, it shows how easily exposure to chemicals can cause health problems. Police officers, firefighters and other first responders often find themselves in situations with unknown hazards. While the threat of health concerns from exposure to chemicals isn't the top risk for police officers, this example shows it can be an issue.
Another important lesson from this story is you don't always know what you are walking into. Chemical leaks or other toxic hazards can happen anywhere. In the example we presented here, the health effects were minor. However, prolonged exposure or exposure to more dangerous elements can cause long-term damage or be immediately life threatening.