Injury from toxic & hazardous substances | Compensation Lawsuit

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Modified on 2009/10/14 21:52 by admin
All too frequently, the saga of modern technological development has brought with it the flip side of environmental contamination, reduced property values, and personal injury to the health and livelihoods of local residents unfortunate enough to be caught in its path.

For many years in the United States, those affected by the negligent environmental contamination of big industry had no legal recourse for claiming compensation. There was no such thing as a personal injury lawsuit for contaminated ground water sources or unbreathable air. Principally, because no laws had been passed to protect such rights.

Then came a series of "toxic tort" acts  that would forever change the face of industrial development in the USA. And right behind them, a small, but highly dedicated group of toxic tort injury lawyers.

Personal injury lawyers, whose practice includes toxic torts litigation, bring lawsuits against big industry companies or individuals for causing personal injury or property damage through negligent practices in the production, storage, transport, or sale of certain harmful substances.

Serious concern for the environment began with the 1962 publication of Rachel Carson's famous book Silent Spring which detailed the hazards of the pesticide DDT. The movement rapidly evolved and the first "Earth Day" was held in April 1970 with comprehensive legislation following soon thereafter.

Most laws regulating toxic substances are passed at the Federal rather than the state level. Congress (House & Senate) passes an "enabling act" that requires or "enables" the appropriate Federal agency to regulate certain types of substances. The enabling acts can be found in the United States Code Annotated (USCA). The various Federal agencies then make detailed rules that regulate toxic substances. These rules are published in the Code of Federal Regulations(CFR).

Some of the primary Federal environmental laws (enabling acts) include:

Environmental Community Right to Know Act
This law requires companies to report whether they have one of 640 listed toxic substances stored at their facility. Additionally, any company that releases one of these 640 substances (either intentionally or accidentally) must report such release to authorities. The law also requires that companies storing any of these substances develop emergency plans in case of a spill to avoid chemical exposure.

National Environmental Policy Act
NEPA, passed in 1970, is considered the first major "environmental" law. NEPA requires any "major Federal project" that "significantly impacts on the human environment" to undergo an environmental impact analysis to determine the project's influence on the environment.

Occupational Safety & Health Act
The OSH Act was passed to protect employees in the workplace. The law is triggered if there is a "significant risk of a material health impairment" to an employee. Many asbestos lawsuits have been successfully litigated for injured workers under this act.


Toxic Substances Control Act
TSCA banned nine known toxic substances. The Environmental Protection Agency is allowed to ban additional substances if the agency can prove that the risks associated with the substance are "unreasonable."

Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, & Rodenticide Act
FIFRA requires producers of any new insecticide, fungicide, or rodenticide to prove that the risks associated with the new product do not exceed the benefits.

Federal Food, Drug, & Cosmetic Act
FFDCA requires the Food & Drug Administration to monitor food, drug, and cosmetic safety.

Resource Conservation & Recovery Act
RCRA, enacted in 1976, regulates the handling, transporting, storing and disposing of hazardous solid waste. The goal of RCRA is not to prohibit the production of hazardous materials but rather to make sure such materials are handled properly.

Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
CERCLA was enacted in 1980 to deal with landfills and other contaminated sites. Congress created a "superfund" to pay for the massive cost of cleaning these sites.

While environmental law has come a long way over the past three decades, there is significant disagreement over the danger that toxic substances continue to pose to human beings. Many expert commentators cannot even agree on the definition of "toxic." Industry lobbyists point out that nearly every substance known to man can be toxic. They argue that it is the dose, or "amount of exposure," to a substance that matters, not the substance itself. For instance, even pure mountain drinking water may be toxic as one can drown in it! Most attorneys define a toxic substance as one that can cause serious medical or environmental problems in relatively low doses or exposure levels.

Since World War II over 70,000 different synthetic chemicals have been developed for use in foods, cosmetics, fertilizers, pesticides, and other products. While Federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have attempted to monitor and evaluate these chemicals, only a small fraction (less than 15%) have been extensively studied. Complicating matters, over 1,000 new chemical substances are developed each year. Additionally, even if a substance is safe in the short term, what is the effect of long-term exposure? Even naturally occurring substances can be toxic, such as lead, arsenic and radon. In other words, uncertainty abounds.

The consequences of toxic exposure can include irritation, mutation, birth defects, cancer, cardiovascular problems, respiratory problems, neurological disorders, and even death. Men and women born in the 1940's have a 35% greater chance of contracting cancer than their grandparents. Women who live very near certain types of chemical plants have a 70% greater chance of getting breast cancer than those who do not.

Over 10 billion pounds of toxic substances are released into the environment each year. These substances could find their way into your backyard, harming you and your children (not to mention your property's value). Unfortunately, such contamination is often very difficult to detect, and your first indication may come with a decline in your health.

As the presence of toxic substances has increased over the last several decades, so have lawsuits alleging injuries, illnesses, and deaths caused by such substances. Many of these toxic substances have impacted large populations of people, as in the now infamous Love Canal and Three Mile Island disasters.

If you sue for injuries caused by a toxic substance, you will have to prove that the Defendant had a duty to treat you in a certain manner, breached that duty, and that the breach caused your injury. Causation may be quite difficult to prove as an injury may have many causes. For instance, if a smoker sues the manufacturer of asbestos for causing his lung cancer, the asbestos manufacturer will argue that the cigarettes caused the cancer, not the toxic asbestos.

See your doctor if you believe that your health has been severely impacted by exposure to toxic materials. In addition, it may be important to contact an attorney who can help you recover compensation that is legally and rightfully yours.. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits within which you must commence suit.

Attorneys associated with InjuryBoard.com will evaluate your case free of charge. In addition, you will not pay any fees or costs unless your attorney recovers compensation in your behalf. Your information will be held in strict confidentiality. Please click on the free Ask An Attorney button to take advantage of this valuable service.

See Also

  1. 1,1,1-Trichloroethane
  2. 1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane
  3. 1,1,2-Trichloroethane
  4. 1,2,3-Trichloropropane
  5. 1,3-Butadiene
  6. 2,3-Benzofuran
  7. 2,4,6-Trinitrotoluene
  8. 2-Butanone
  9. 2-Butoxyethanol
  10. 2-Hexanone
  11. 4,4'-Methylenedianiline
  12. Acetone
  13. Acrolein Exposure: Overview
  14. Acrylonitrile
  15. Aldrin / Dieldrin
  16. Aluminum
  17. Americium
  18. Ammonia
  19. Aniline
  20. Antimony
  21. Anvil Exposure: Overview
  22. Arsenic
  23. Arsine Exposure: Overview
  24. Asbestos
  25. Atrazine
  26. Barium
  27. Benlate / Benomyl
  28. Benzene
  29. Benzidine
  30. Beryllium
  31. Bis(2-chloroethyl) Ether
  32. Bis(chloromethyl) Ether
  33. Boron
  34. Brominated Diphenyl Ethers (BDEs) Exposure: Overview
  35. Bromodichloromethane
  36. Bromoform and Chlorodibromomethane
  37. Bromomethane
  38. Cadmium
  39. Carbamate Exposure: Overview
  40. Carbon Disulfide
  41. Carbon Monoxide
  42. Carbon Tetrachloride
  43. CCP Paper: Overview
  44. Cesium
  45. Chlordane
  46. Chlorfenvinphos
  47. Chlorinated Dibenzofurans (CDFs)
  48. Chlorine
  49. Chlorine Dioxide
  50. Chlorobenzene
  51. Chloroethane
  52. Chloroform
  53. Chromium IV Exposure: Overview
  54. Coal Ash Exposure: Overview
  55. Coal Tar: Overview
  56. Copper Exposure: Overview
  57. Cryptosporidium Parvum: Overview
  58. DDT Exposure: Overview
  59. DEHP: Overview
  60. Depleted Uranium Exposure: Overview
  61. Diazinon
  62. Dibenzofuran Exposure: Overview
  63. Dibromochloropropane Exposure: Overview
  64. Diesel Exhaust
  65. Diethyl Phthalate Exposure: Overview
  66. Dioxin
  67. Dursban / Baygon / Dragnet
  68. E. coli
  69. Formaldehyde Exposure: Overview
  70. Furan
  71. Gasoline
  72. Glycol Ethers: Exposure
  73. Harmful Bacteria & Fungus: Overview
  74. Heptachlor and Heptachlor Epoxide
  75. Hexachlorobenzene
  76. Hexachlorobutadiene
  77. Hexachlorocyclohexanes
  78. Hexachlorocyclopentadiene (HCCPD)
  79. Hexachloroethane
  80. Hexamethylene Diisocyanate
  81. High Tension Wires: Overview
  82. HMX - High Melting eXplosive
  83. Hydraulic Fluids
  84. Hydrazines
  85. Hydrogen Chloride
  86. Hydrogen Peroxide
  87. Hydrogen Sulfide
  88. Iodine
  89. Ionizing Radiation
  90. Isophorone
  91. Jet fuels JP-4 and JP-7
  92. Jet fuels JP-5 and JP-8
  93. Kerosene (Fuel Oils)
  94. Latex
  95. Lead & Lead-Based Paint
  96. Lewisite (Blister Agent)
  97. Lindane: Overview
  98. Listeria
  99. Malathion
  100. Manganese Exposure: Overview
  101. Mercury
  102. Methane Exposure: Overview
  103. Methoxychlor
  104. Methyl Isocyanate
  105. Methyl Mercaptan
  106. Methyl Parathion
  107. Methylamines Exposure: Overview
  108. Methylene Chloride
  109. Mirex and Chlordecone
  110. MTBE
  111. Mustard Gas
  112. Naphthalene
  113. Nerve Agents
  114. N-hexane
  115. Nickel
  116. Nitrate Exposure: Overview
  117. Nitrobenzene
  118. Nitrogen Dioxide Exposure: Overview
  119. Nitrogen Mustards (HN-1, HN-2, HN-3) (Blister Agent)
  120. Nitrogen Oxides
  121. Nitrophenols
  122. n-Nitrosodimethylamine
  123. n-Nitrosodi-n-propylamine
  124. n-Nitrosodiphenylamine
  125. Nuclear Contamination Exposure: Overview
  126. Organic Solvents: Exposure
  127. Organophosphate
  128. Otto Fuel II
  129. Paraquat & Maneb Exposure: Overview
  130. PCBs
  131. Pentachlorophenol
  132. Perchlorate
  133. Perchloroethylene
  134. Phenol
  135. Phosgene
  136. Phosgene Oxime
  137. Phthalates Exposure: Overview
  138. Plutonium
  139. Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / PAH
  140. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
  141. Pyrethrins and Pyrethroids
  142. Pyridine
  143. Radium
  144. Radon
  145. Royal Demolition eXplosive - RDX
  146. Salmonella
  147. Selenium
  148. Selenium Hexafluoride
  149. Semicarbazide (SEM)
  150. Silica
  151. Sodium and Calcium Hypochlorite
  152. Sodium Hydroxide
  153. Specific Contaminated Sites
  154. Stoddard Solvent
  155. Strontium
  156. Styrene
  157. Sulfur Dioxide
  158. Sulfur Mustards H/HD and HT (Blister Agent)
  159. Sulfur Trioxide
  160. Synthetic Vitreous Fibers
  161. Teflon
  162. Tetryl
  163. Thallium
  164. Thorium
  165. Tin
  166. Titanium Tetrachloride
  167. Toluene
  168. Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH)
  169. Toxaphene
  170. Toxic Insecticide Chalk: Overview
  171. Toxic Mold
  172. Toxic Mothballs: Overview
  173. Trichloroethylene
  174. Uranium
  175. Vanadium Exposure: Overview
  176. Vinyl Acetate
  177. Vinyl Chloride
  178. White Phosphorus
  179. Xylene
  180. Zinc
  181. Heart Attack Lawsuits
  182. High Blood Pressure (hypertension): Overview
  183. Neuroblastoma: Overview
  184. Norwalk-Like Viruses / Noroviruses
  185. Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP)
  186. Transposition of the Great Arteries / TGA: Overview
  187. Toxaphene: Frequently Asked Questions
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