Injuries from Environmental Toxins

The state and federal laws that regulate the toxins that can be emitted or disposed of seek to protect both the environment and public health. In order to fully understand why the laws exist and why compliance with environmental laws is important, it is important to understand the possible injuries that can result from environmental toxins.
Consider the health impacts that follow from some of the following environmental issues:
·         Asbestos exposure: the government has enacted strict guidelines regarding the use of asbestos and asbestos exposure because asbestos has been linked to a deadly type of cancer known as mesothelioma and other serious conditions such as asbestosis. People who are exposed to asbestos inhale dangerous fibers that can create asbestosis or mesothelioma decades after exposure.
·         Lead paint: lead is a type of toxic metal that can create significant neurological problems such as behavior problems, learning disabilities, seizures, and death. Children are most susceptible to the dangers of lead, and particularly of lead paint used in homes or schools. Therefore, the government has prohibited lead based paint in residences since 1978.
·         Ground water contamination: groundwater that is used for human consumption can become contaminated from environmental toxins. For example, gas, oil, hazardous waste and other toxins can create serious health risks for people who drink the water or use it for cleaning purposes. In order to protect people from the pollutants and chemicals in groundwater, drinking supplies should be regularly tested to ensure compliance with drinking water standards.
·         Benzene: benzene is a liquid that has been used as an additive in gasoline and in the manufacturing of plastics, drugs, and other products. Benzene exposure can lead to blood cancers such as leukemia and bone marrow cancers such as myeloma.
·         Chinese Drywall: Many U.S. homes that were built in 2006 and 2007 used Chinese drywall that was found to emit sulfur. Chinese drywall is reported to have caused significant health problems for people in at least 37 states. The federal government has issued guidelines for people who are looking to safely replace the contaminated drywalls in their homes.
Of course, this list is only representative of the many types of environmental toxins that can cause significant injuries. Pollution, pesticides, medical waste, the improper disposal of chemicals and other issues that affect the environment can also have serious medical consequences for individuals.
If you have been hurt by an environmental toxin, or lost a loved one because of an environmental toxin then you may be entitled to damages. Compensation may include things such as:
·         Past and future medical bills;
·         Past and future rehabilitation costs;
·         Past and future lost income;
·         Out of pocket expenses such as household help, childcare or funeral expenses incurred as a result of the environmental toxin injury; and
·         Pain and suffering.
In order to recover damages you will need to prove that your injury was caused by the environmental toxin and that a person, business, or government agency acted negligently or willfully in exposing you to such toxin. 

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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