The history of disasters in Georgia is long and filled with pain for many people. Some of our Jonesboro readers will undoubtedly recall the floods a decade ago in the northern part of the state. At least 10 people died in September of 2009 and more than 20,000 homes were damaged. In 2007, nearly two dozen tornadoes touched down across the state, leaving nine dead and nearly 100 injured.

As we all know, there is no way to prevent these types of natural events. What is less well-known is that natural disasters such as flooding and wildfires – and human-made disasters such as terrorism – can cause increased sharply rates of health problems for workers and residents exposed to chemical leaks, contaminated air and water, toxic smoke and more.

A recent article on the health risks posed to those exposed pointed out that “clean-up crews and construction workers likely face significant exposure risks” when they try to restore and rebuild devastated areas. That is “a reality that will affect the work comp industry.”

The long-term health effects to those responders and workers who were exposed to the many toxins released and created by the 9-11 attacks are painfully clear as a result of data tracking. The numbers are grim: increased rates of thyroid and prostate cancer, as well as a higher incidence of pulmonary fibrosis, among those who were exposed and then tracked.

Health experts warn that as natural events steadily increase in frequency and ferocity, more first responders and more construction crews and clean-up team members can be expected to have to deal with significant health issues afterwards.

No matter what the cause of the work-related illness or injury, the physical and financial pain for the injured worker is made worse if they are denied Georgia workers’ compensation. Speak to a Jonesboro attorney experienced in workers’ comp appeals to fight for what you deserve.