Many people have simple jobs in comfortable office jobs where they get to sit all day in a chair and work on a screen. Even people with rough-and-tumble positions, such as manufacturing and construction work, enjoy some basic comforts on the job.
But then there are the rare few who possess careers that most wouldn’t be able to stomach: foul, filthy jobs with extreme health risks. If you’ve ever wondered, “What are the nastiest careers in America?”, read on to get down and dirty with the top five grossest, messiest jobs in the US.
Coal mining is a career we often associate with the olden days when many people entered the mines to dig up those money-making black diamonds. But we still use coal—more than 450 short tons of it per year, in fact—and coal miners are still a much-needed commodity. And these coal miners face various dangers, including gas poisoning and gas explosions, daily. To top it off, they leave the job covered in a thick, hard-to-wash-off layer of soot.
Septic Tank Cleaner
If you’re secretly a Ninja Turtle, the prospect of hanging out around raw sewage likely doesn’t faze you. Apparently, it doesn’t faze the nation’s army of septic tank cleaners, either. Hands-off pumps and pipes process most sewage, but when the tanks housing these pumps and pipes fail, technicians have to tackle the messy, smelly clean-up jobs.
Animal Urine Collector
Yes, this is a real, genuine job, and it pays quite well (to the tune of $80,000 per year). The urine of some animals is highly valuable. Take coyote urine, for example, which gardeners and farmers use to repel plant-eating pests such as rabbits, squirrels, and deer. And there needs to be somebody to collect and bottle it.
To collect the urine, workers herd the animals into pens with collection drains on the floor. The pee pools into the drain, allowing people to collect it later. Can you imagine the smell of these collecting facilities?
Hazardous Material Remover
Have you ever dreamed of hanging out around toxic, possibly radioactive gunk? Most would prefer to stay far, far away from these massive health hazards—but not hazardous material collectors. These gutsy folk brave biohazards, radioactive material, chemically combustible material, and nuclear waste to ensure our local landfills don’t spontaneously combust or leech who-knows-what into the water and soil. We hope they’re suiting up with adequate PPE to protect themselves from burns and bizarre radioactive mutations!
Last but not least on this list of the grossest, dirtiest jobs in America is the title of mortuary embalmer. Embalmers must look at—and touch—decaying corpses, which isn’t a task for the faint of heart. As part of their roles, they inevitably encounter all kinds of bodily fluids, including blood, mucus, saliva, and urine. And did we mention that these bodily fluids can spread gastroenteritis, hepatitis B and C, HIV, enteric intestinal pathogens, tuberculosis, cholera, and other infectious diseases? Above all, they must do this hard work while still respecting the deceased and their surviving family.