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New law provides relief to workers exposed to toxic substances

A plan to help workers who have been exposed to toxic substances was signed into law on Friday.

illinoisealState Sen. Elgie R. Sims Jr., D-Chicago, sponsored the bill, which helps workers who have developed latent illnesses or injuries after coming in contact with asbestos, radiation or beryllium in the workplace.

“For far too long, employees have suffered from bad workplace conditions with no source of relief,” Sims said. “Often they do not see symptoms until 30 to 50 years after exposure. We must end the statute of limitations and ensure their right to recovery.”

The Workers’ Compensation Act and Workers’ Occupational Disease Act currently have 25-year statutes of limitation. SB 1596 would create exceptions to these rules for cases of exposure to toxic substances.

“The past law was a death sentence for people diagnosed with serious illnesses who aren’t given the proper time to take care of their poor health,” Sims said. “I thank my colleagues in the General Assembly and the governor for their support in helping these working men and women.”

Senate Bill 1596 is effective immediately.

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