Exposures to toxic substances in the workplace can lead to occupational cancers, respiratory disorders, neurological disorders, and a host of other illnesses that cause premature death and significant suffering. In many cases, the connection between work and illness is not readily apparent. Diseases that are caused by work may develop slowly and go undetected until long after employment ends.
There is much we do not know about occupational illness, and we need to invest in research that examines causal connections between workplace exposures and the development of disease. But we also need to make use of the research we already have and the science we already know — and we need to protect workers accordingly.