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The worker fails to show anemia caused by chemical exposure



A man who developed iron deficiency anemia failed to show his condition was caused by repeated exposure to hazardous chemicals in the workplace.

In Balensiefen v Illinois Workers Compensation Commission Illinois Appellate Court, Ottawa's Third District, on Monday upheld an arbitration award that the worker did not show a causal link to his condition and workplace.

John Balensiefen started working for the chemical manufacturer Emerald Performance Materials LLC at his factory in Henry, Illinois in 1988. In 2012, at the age of 59, he was diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia and filed a claim for compensation with workers claiming exposure to hazardous chemicals caused or contributed to his condition.

He claimed that he was exposed to fumes from his work and that his protective equipment did not cover his entire body. He also claimed that the building had insufficient ventilation and that chemical mixing tanks leaked repeatedly, sometimes requiring children's pools to be taken in to collect the leaking chemicals.

In June 201

2, Balensiefen was diagnosed with severe iron deficiency of unknown origin. and underwent blood transfusion and was later admitted to intensive care for related problems. A treating physician noted that his work exposed him to various chemicals that were likely to cause or contribute to his condition. However, an independent doctor found no evidence based on toxicological data that the chemicals Balensiefen said he was exposed to routinely caused iron deficiency anemia and believed that his comorbidities, including atrial fibrillation, blood clots and pulmonary embolism were much more likely to be. related to his anemia.

An arbitrator denied Balensiefen's claim for benefits and the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission unanimously upheld the decision. an occupational disease or that there was a causal link between the disease and his employment.

Although a doctor stated that chemicals in the workplace were likely to contribute to Mr Balensiefen's anemia, the Board of Appeal considered that the Commission correctly gave less weight to his testimony because the doctor did not know the extent of Balensiefen's chemical exposure at work, acknowledged that anemia is a common condition and presented no evidence that caused anemia with the alleged chemical exposures.

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