Toxic chemicals can be found nearly everywhere, including the home and workplace. They exist in building materials, bedding, cleaning products, paints and cooking utensils. Americans using these items in their homes every day may be unaware of the potential dangers of exposure to toxins. Workers in the fields of construction, healthcare, agriculture and manufacturing are all at risk of exposure to toxic chemicals commonly used in those environments.
Some of the chemicals that are encountered in the home are contained in oven cleaners, pesticides, carpet cleaners, bug sprays, bathroom cleaners and home mechanical cleaners. Lead can be lurking in drinking water or household paint. Illegal dumping of toxic waste can contaminate soil and groundwater.
In the workplace workers may have to deal regularly with chemicals in lubricants, paint removers, pesticides, cleaning solvents, degreasers, dry cleaning solvents, dyes, spray paint, manganese (from welding) and gasoline or kerosene. Other chemicals known to cause health problems are asbestos, benzene, Teflon and perchlorates.
Effects of Toxic Chemical Exposure
The effects of toxic chemicals on a person’s health can be life altering and devastating. Not everyone who is exposed to chemicals will develop a problem as people can have different reactions to the same substance. Some of the effects of toxic chemicals include, but are not limited to:
- Kidney disorders
- Stomach problems
- Learning disabilities
- Skin irritations
- Respiratory ailments
A toxic tort lawsuit can help recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and pain and suffering. Bringing a successful toxic chemicals claim is difficult. Expert witnesses will be required as well as medical evidence to prove your claim. If you believe you are suffering an injury or illness due to exposure to chemicals, it is best to seek counsel from an experienced product liability lawyer who can inform you of your legal options.
Liability for Exposure to Toxic Chemicals
Determining who is responsible for exposure to toxins is complicated. Unlike a traffic accident wherein one car clearly rear-ends another, fault may be attributed to one or more of many defendants in the chain of distribution. These include the manufacturer of the product, the supplier, contractor or the property owner.
Manufacturers have a responsibility to adequately test products such as pesticides or household cleaners to ensure that there are no harmful effects to consumers through normal use of the product. If this turns out not be the case and the product has the potential to injure consumers who use it, the manufacturer may be held liable for negligence.
Using a legal doctrine known as “strict product liability” it is possible to bring a claim against the manufacturer of a toxic product without having to prove negligence. Instead, it must be shown that the product was unreasonably dangerous and caused your injuries. It is also possible to bring claims against the companies that sold, furnished or designed the product.
If a manufacturer is aware of the harmful effects of a product containing chemicals, they must give adequate warning of its health risks. The warning must be clear and easy for consumers to understand so that they can protect themselves properly when using the product. Under product liability law, a company that fails to warn consumers of taking the necessary steps to prevent injury may be liable for a warning defect.
Environmental exposure to toxic chemicals may be addressed through toxic tort law. Companies that contaminate drinking water by dumping toxic waste have been brought to justice in this way.
Philadelphia Environmental Lawyers at Williams Cedar Fight for Victims of Toxic Chemical Exposure
For more than 25 years, the dedicated Pennsylvania environmental lawyers of Williams Cedar have successfully represented communities suffering the effects of toxic chemicals. If you believe you have been exposed to chemicals that are affecting your health, do not delay in seeking medical and legal counsel. Call us at 215-557-0099 to schedule a free consultation about your case or complete our online form. We have offices in Philadelphia and Cherry Hill, New Jersey serving clients both locally and nationwide.