Toxic Chemicals & Materials
Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors | Last reviewed June 20, 2016
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Toxic chemicals and materials have made their way into all types consumer goods, houses, buildings, work materials, and more. From lead paint on toys to chemicals used in the construction of our homes and workplaces, these toxic substances can give rise to wide ranging injuries. Injuries arising from toxic materials or chemicals can give rise to different types of legal actions, including standard product liability lawsuits as well as "toxic torts." Some toxic chemicals and materials have since been phased out of production in the U.S., including lead-based paints, DDT, and asbestos. However, even after manufacturers stop using a given substance, lawsuits over injuries arising from years of prior exposure can continue for some time. Here, you will find resources about toxic substances found in common products, in the home, on the job, and elsewhere.
Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that has been used as insulation and as a fire retardant in a wide variety of products. Because asbestos fibers are thin and light, they can remain in the air for long periods of time without detection. Individuals who experience continuous exposure to these fibers often develop serious health complications. The three most common ways for people to be exposed to asbestos are: occupational exposure, paraoccupational exposure, and neighborhood exposure. If you have developed an illness from exposure to asbestos, even if it wasn't discovered until much later, you may have a claim for damages.
Teflon is a DuPont brand name and registered trademark for a non-stick, stain-resistant material used in cooking, apparel, automotive, household, personal care, and industrial applications. Recently, the safety of Teflon coated cookware has been called into question. One of the components of Teflon is the man-made chemical perfluorooctanoic acid -- also referred to as PFOA or C8 -- which has been linked to serious health problems.
Lead is a highly toxic metal used for many years in products found in and around the home. If you have experienced any dangerous symptoms or unusual medical conditions that might be related to lead exposure, you should first seek immediate medical attention. In the event that you have used products containing lead, or if you are concerned that you and your family have been exposed to lead around the home, you may wish to meet with an experienced attorney to discuss your options and to protect your right to a legal remedy for injuries.
Legal Responsibility for Toxic Exposure
In some personal injury cases, it's clear who is responsible for your injury. For example, if you are shopping at the mall and you slip and fall on a newly mopped, wet floor, it is likely that the mall will be liable for your injuries. But in toxic exposure cases, determining who is at fault for your injury can be much more complicated. You may be able to bring a lawsuit against the manufacturer, the supplier, a contractor, the property owner, or even your employer.
How a Products Liability Attorney Can Help
Filing a toxic materials lawsuit is a complicated undertaking, often requiring medical evidence, expert witnesses, and a detailed knowledge of product liability law. As a result, it's in your best interests to consult with an experienced attorney before deciding on a course of action. A good first step is to contact a product liability lawyer for a free claim evaluation.
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