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10 Jobs That Increase Your Risk of Cancer

It’s graduation season. You’ve graduated, so what’s next?

When deciding what career to undertake, you first need to know that some jobs can be hazardous to your health.

For many jobs, like coal mining or firefighting, the risks are obvious. For others, although they may seem safe, they can expose you to hazardous materials. Making sure you know the risks in advance, and taking preventative measures when working in one of these careers can make the difference between life and death.

Here are the 10 most common careers that can be associated with a high risk of cancer:

  1. Pilots: Pilots can be exposed to high levels of UV radiation, according to JAMA Dermatology, which can increase the risk of melanoma (skin cancer). “Sitting in the cockpit of a plane in flight can expose the skin to the same amount of UVA radiation as using a tanning bed for 20 minutes, that study found.”(
  2. Lifeguards: Likewise, lifeguards can suffer skin damage from the sun. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends limiting sun exposure during the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s UV rays are strongest, and liberally applying sunscreen with at least SPF 15. It’s difficult to limit sun exposure when your job forces you to do otherwise.
  3. Desk Jobs: 86% of Americans sit at a desk most of the day. “A 2009 study found that people who had increased sitting times had higher rates of cancer and overall mortality, even when they got some daily exercise.” The American Cancer Society says there is “a link between long periods of inactivity and cancer.”
  4. Nail-Salon Workers: The strong fumes in nail salons are chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde, and toluene. Benzene is used as a starting material to make other chemicals. According to studies by the American Cancer Society, benzene is known to cause cancer, usually leukemia or other cancers of the blood cells. ( Formaldehyde has also been proven to cause cancer. The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) suggests that nail salons have adequate ventilation, and that nail-salon employees wear protection, including long-sleeved shirts, masks and gloves to protect from exposure to harmful chemicals they work with.
  5. Farmers and Others in Agricultural Jobs: Farmers and their families are exposed to pesticides that can cause cancer. A 2011 study found that prostate cancer was more prevalent in farmers than in non-farmers, and that “those exposed to pesticides were 20% more likely to report having prostate cancer.” A 2013 study also found a link between aggressive prostate cancer and common insecticides.
  6. Firefighters: Not only are firefighters in danger while putting out a fire, but the smoke they inhale can cause lingering issues, including an increased risk of cancer. There are toxic substances and carcinogens in the smoke; thus the reason firefighters wear safety gear, and have to go through a decontamination process after leaving a work site.
  7. Painters: You can probably guess that painters work around some of the same chemicals as nail-salon employees. Therefore, they are also exposed to fumes that can cause cancer. Arsenic is also found in some paints, and has been proven to cause cancer as well. It’s important for painters to wear a protective mask, and other gear to try to keep from breathing in these dangerous fumes.
  8. Rubber Manufacturers: Due to the chemicals used to make rubber, employees in the rubber industry have a higher risk for bladder cancer, lung cancer, and leukemia than the general population, per the Occupational and Environmental Medicine journal.
  9. Construction Workers: Construction workers can be exposed to asbestos, which “was once used in construction material including pipe insulation, floor tiles, and roofing shingles. Sometimes years after the fact, this exposure can cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, and gastrointestinal cancer.
  10. Morticians and Undertakers: Preservatives, most notably formaldehyde, that are used to embalm are carcinogens. OSHA requires morticians and undertakers to monitor exposure to formaldehyde.

The Law Offices of David L. Hood – Representing Injured Workers in South Carolina

The Law Offices of David L. Hood have been fighting for the rights of injured workers in North Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Georgetown, Charleston and all across South Carolina for over 25 years. We have a dedicated team that will strive to take care of your claim professionally and treat you with respect. Over the years we’ve represented hundreds of injured workers and their families, working hard to get them the medical treatment and compensation they deserve.

To learn more about what we can do for you, contact our offices to set up a free initial consultation. If you choose to work with us, we will handle your case on a contingent fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless we make a recovery for you. To get in touch with us, you can call our offices at (843) 491-6025 or email us here.

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