Radiation Exposure Symptoms - Featured Image
September 24, 2021
by Jamie Foster

Radiation Exposure Symptoms

What You Should Know

The presence of radioactive waste is becoming increasingly common in our workplaces and the environment. This is especially true in Louisiana, where oil companies are responsible for dispersing radioactive material into our wetlands, waterways, and even our backyards. The prevalence of industry in Louisiana also lends itself to an increased risk of radiation exposure to Louisiana workers. The Falcon Law Firm represents hundreds of clients whose lives were impacted by radiation exposure symptoms, defending them and their rights against the world’s largest corporations.

What is Radiation Exposure?

Radiation is a form of energy that travels in the form of high-speed particles. There are two types of radiation. Non-ionizing radiation involves types of waves such as cellular waves and radio waves, which are usually harmless. However, ionizing radiation, such as the energy found in x-rays and gamma rays, can cause damage to the body with extended exposure. The type of ionized radioactive waste generated by the oil industry is called Technologically Enhanced Naturally-Occurring Radioactive Materials (TENORM). TENORM is a collection of naturally-occurring radioactive materials found in rocks and minerals underground, and is commonly made up of radon, radium, potassium, uranium, and thorium. The amount of harmful radiation found in TENORM can range from generally harmless to life-threatening.
Radiation Exposure Symptoms from Oilfield Storage Tanks

Radiation Exposure in Louisiana

Louisiana workers are especially vulnerable to radiation exposure symptoms because of the high concentration of waste that is produced by oil drilling companies and refineries on the coast and in offshore facilities. Internal communications have shown that oil companies are aware of the amount of radiation that workers are exposed to, but these companies often choose to put profits over the wellbeing of their employees. This has led to an increased likelihood of cancer and death among Louisiana workers who work in these facilities.

Who is Most at Risk?

Whether your body is adversely affected by radiation exposure depends on a number of factors, such as the type of radiation, the amount of radiation that your body was exposed to, the method of exposure, and your sensitivity to radiation.

Employees who work for any of Louisiana’s oil and gas companies are at heightened risk of being exposed to TENORM radiation. This also places the families of Louisiana workers at risk, as radiation can travel between individuals in close proximity. Children, pregnant women, and those who are immunocompromised might be at increased risk of feeling radiation exposure symptoms.

Symptoms of Radiation Exposure

It is important for those working in this industry to know the symptoms of radiation exposure. Radiation exposure symptoms range in severity depending on the type and amount of exposure. Symptoms can  include:
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Low blood pressure
  • Bloody vomit or bloody stool
  • Blisters or a sunburn-like rash
  • Hair loss
The long-term impacts of radiation exposure include cancer and can sometimes be fatal. However, it can often be difficult to know if you’ve been exposed, and for how long.

A Real Life Example of Exposure in the Field

A 2020 Rolling Stone story describes the experiences of an Ohio man named Peter while working as a waste trucker for the oil and gas industry. Only after roughly four years on the job did Peter learn that the waste he had been hauling was radioactive. Peter demanded an explanation from his supervisor, only to be told that the radioactivity of the waste was harmless. Peter chose to investigate the safety of the waste himself, sending several samples of it to the Center for Environmental Research and Education at Duquesne University for testing. The results proved Peter’s suspicions correct-- much of the waste in Peter’s truck was over fifty times more toxic than the maximum toxicity allowed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. 

Though Peter had not developed symptoms associated with radiation exposure at the time of publication, he describes watching many of his coworkers become ill, eventually facing cancer diagnoses. Based on his observations, Peter expects that he, too, will experience symptoms within the next fifteen years or so, as these symptoms often take time to emerge. 

Many workers like Peter in the oil and gas industry remain unaware of the risk of radiation exposure in their jobs. Therefore, it is critical that workers who suspect that they have been exposed to radiation seek help before serious illness occurs. Contact us at The Falcon Law Firm and we will review your work history, connect you with healthcare specialists, and ensure that your rights, health, and your family’s future are protected.

Worried about your Radiation Exposure Symptoms?

If you are experiencing radiation exposure symptoms and have worked in an environment where you may have been exposed to radiation, contact the Falcon Law Firm at 504-341-1234. Our attorneys are on-call and ready to defend your rights to seek the compensation that you and your family deserve. You may also contact us online or visit us at our office located at 5044 Lapalco Blvd., Marrero, LA.

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