Toxic chemicals can be found in the workplace, at home, and even in schools. Despite the severity of exposure to chemicals, often a person can be exposed to these dangerous substances with no warning, since they can hide in plain sight. A recent case in Philadelphia revealed, for example, that one classroom was contaminated with over four million asbestos fibers per square centimeter - an amount 50 times greater than the highest result for settled asbestos dust found in apartments near Ground Zero after 9/11. Children in the classroom inhaled the fibers, got them on their hands and near their mouths, all without seeing, feeling, or smelling the asbestos.
Exposure to asbestos and other serious chemicals can cause life-threatening injuries, that’s why it is so important to understand the possibility of exposure and what to do if you develop disease or injury because of toxic exposure.
Types of Chemical Exposure
Asbestos was a common building substance in the 20th century, until health concerns about asbestos forced it to be phased out. However, it is still found in many older buildings. Inhalation of asbestos over a period of time can cause lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma.
*Pesticides, Insecticides and Herbicides
Pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides are commonly used to kill weeds and insects. The presence of certain some of these chemicals are linked to cancer and neurological diseases when they are found in food. Chemicals used to kill weeds in our crops and insects in our homes and on our food products have been linked to serious side effects such as cancer and diminished neurodevelopment in children.
Lawsuits are currently being filed against Monsanto over the herbicide known as Roundup, which is made with glyphosate. Farmers spend nearly one pound of Roundup on each acre of cropland in the U.S.
Certain chemicals found in food production, like Diacetyl, are used to flavor foods such as popcorn. Diacetyl is a very toxic substance that is dangerous to workers who are around it at a work site. Exposure can cause many different lung diseases, which are often called “popcorn lung.” The chemical is an additive in popcorn, coffee roasting, bakeries, tortillas, animal food, and candy. Workers in those industries must be aware of the potential of exposure.
If a person is exposed to high levels of lead, there can be harmful illnesses or side effects, especially in children. Lead poisoning can result from lead pipes in older homes, or if a person inhales or swallows lead dust.
What is Toxic Exposure?
Exposure to toxic chemicals does not always result in serious injury. Most of the severe diseases and injuries occur when a worker inhales fumes, or their is exposure over a prolonged period of time. Another common way that people are exposed is through direct contact between the chemical and the skin. Ingestion is not as common, but it can happen if a substance is contaminated.
Usually a single incident of exposure to toxic chemicals is not threatening.
Chemical Exposure Lawsuits
If a person is injured due to exposure to a toxic chemical, they can file a lawsuit. These lawsuits are often called “toxic tort” or “chemical exposure” lawsuits. There are two typical routes for a chemical exposure lawsuit: workers’ compensation or personal injury. When a person is injured in the workplace, they usually have to go through the Oklahoma workers’ compensation system. If the exposure did not happen in the workplace, then a personal injury lawsuit is appropriate.
If several people suffered from the same or similar injuries, they can file a mass tort lawsuit against the same defendant. Mass tort lawsuits are similar to individual lawsuits, but allow all people who suffered injury to be considered together.
Call an Oklahoma Lawyer About Chemical Exposure Injuries
If you have been exposed to dangerous chemicals and have suffered injury or illness, contact an experienced personal injury attorney immediately. By calling our office at 405-542-2529 (542-CLAW) you can speak with one of our lawyers about your options. Read more about our team, or continue reading and researching our free legal information library, or enter live chat.