A cold hard truth about modern life is that we live in a chemically toxic world. Chemical compounds abound everywhere, and infamous cases ranging from Camp Lejeune to Flint, Michigan, prove that the “powers that be” often show no regard for human safety.
Four chemicals deserve attention due to their pervasive nature. This post will examine what these compounds are and how you can seek legal representation if they have affected you or a loved one.
Four killer compounds and their risks
Chemical exposure at toxic levels can have devastating effects on your mental and physical well-being. It’s therefore important for you to know some basics about these four types of compounds and the associated risks if you’re exposed to them environmentally or occupationally.
TCE is a nonflammable and colorless volatile liquid. Exposure to TCE can impact:
- immune and reproductive systems, liver, kidneys, and central nervous system;
- fetal development during pregnancy;
- health issues, such as headache, nausea, eye irritation, drowsiness, and skin irritation;
- kidney cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and cardiac defects with long-term exposure.
PCE is a noninflammable colorless liquid with a mild, chloroform-like odor. Exposure to PCE may cause:
- irritation in eyes, skin, nose, throat, and respiratory system;
- damage to the kidney, level, and immune system;
- neurological effects, including sensory symptoms, such as headaches, impairments in cognitive and motor neurobehavioral functioning, and color vision decrements;
- risk of bladder cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and multiple myeloma.
Benzene is a highly inflammable, and colorless liquid chemical with a sweet odor. Some of the prominent health impacts of benzene exposure include:
- risk of developing leukemia and other blood disorders;
- drowsiness, headaches, tremors, dizziness associated with breathing high levels of benzene;
- vomiting, breathing issues, convulsions, and stomach irritation on eating foods laced with benzene;
- tissue injury/irritation with direct exposure of lungs, eyes, and skin.
Vinyl Chloride (VC)
Vinyl chloride (VC) is a flammable and explosive colorless gas with a sweet odor. VC exposure is associated with:
- an increased risk of a rare form of liver cancer (hepatic angiosarcoma), as well as brain and lung cancers, lymphoma, and leukemia;
- lung irritation, trouble breathing, ulcers, dizziness, sleepiness.
How can you get exposed to these chemicals?
You may get exposed to toxic chemicals due to oil spills, chemical storage leaks, or working in a chemical factory. The means of exposure can be equally diverse: skin contact with corrosive substances, inhalation of toxic fumes, or ingestion of contaminated food or water. Let’s understand how you can get exposed to these four types of toxic chemicals:
TCE contaminated groundwater and soil can be found near current and former military bases since the chemical was used extensively by the US military to degrease equipment. Besides, you may get exposed to TCE if you’re working or residing nearby industries engaged in:
- manufacture of other chemicals;
- degreasing solvent for metal parts during the manufacture of a variety of products;
- consumer products, including paint removers, wood finishes, stain removers, and adhesives.
You may get exposed to elevated levels of PCE by drinking water or inhaling air polluted with the chemical. PCE is widely used in:
- dry-cleaning and textile processing — the major source of chemical release;
- manufacture of other chemicals;
- metal degreasing operations.
Benzene is produced by both natural and human processes. These are few of the forms it can be found:
- as a natural component of crude oil — the main source of benzene produced today;
- in the gas emissions from forest fires and volcanoes;
- as a solvent in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, as raw material, and an intermediate in the synthesis of numerous chemicals, and in gasoline.
- in paint strippers, adhesives, dyes, and detergents;
- in mainstream cigarette smoke — accounts for about half of the total U.S. population exposure to this chemical.
Vinyl Chloride (VC)
Most of the VC that enters the environment comes from the plastics industry, which releases it into the air or into wastewater. VC is used:
- to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC) — an ingredient in plastic products, including pipes, wire and cable coatings, and packaging materials;
- as a refrigerant, and in organic synthesis reactions;
- as a combustion product in tobacco smoke.
Why to seek legal advice if your illness can be linked to them
A chemical incident is the uncontrolled release of a toxic substance, potentially resulting in harm to public health and the environment. You may have to bear significant medical expenses due to the associated chronic health conditions, such as chemical burns, organ damage, cancer, or reproductive issues.
Manufacturers and other businesses are expected to act responsibly and ensure the safety of people who work with or around toxic chemicals. They are legally and ethically bound to be socially responsible in the way they dispose of industrial waste safely, protect drinking water, and safeguard the air you breathe and the food you eat.
If you or a close one sustains injuries due to a chemical incident, you may be eligible to receive compensation from the responsible parties. Unfortunately, proving causation for toxic tort claims is often difficult. And consulting the best lawyers for personal injury will help you claim compensation benefits against toxic torts — accidental contact with hazardous chemicals.
How an experienced personal injury attorney can help
In the event you or a family member sustains an injury due to a chemical incident, navigating a toxic tort lawsuit and proving your claim can be challenging. One reason is that the harm or medical symptoms generally don’t appear until many years after the exposure to toxic substances took place. And, if the exposure began a long time ago, it may be hard to find evidence from the past.
Additionally, the statute of limitations — time limit for personal injury compensation claims — varies across different states. Here’s how working with an experienced personal injury attorney can help you establish a strong toxic tort claim:
- evaluate the source of the chemical incident and the involved parties;
- understand federal and local standards of safety that’ve been violated;
- gauge how much and how long you’re exposed and establish causation and liability;
- gather reliable evidence, expert witness testimony, and required documents;
- calculate damages for a chemical exposure claim;
- file a timely lawsuit.
If you believe you or your family member have been exposed to toxic chemicals, consult with a personal injury attorney immediately. If you’re looking for the best lawyers for personal injury, contact LegalASAP today. You can also take our free personal injury evaluation to see if you qualify and get the legal help you need.