Toxic Chemicals and Materials
Many products contain toxic chemicals and materials. This includes consumer goods, homes and home furnishings, work materials, and more. These toxic substances give rise to severe injuries. Most consumers presume that these products are safe. They don't realize that companies still use hazardous substances despite warnings from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
This article discusses common toxins you can find in consumer products today. It will also explain how manufacturers can be liable for health problems and injuries arising from harmful materials.
Do Companies Still Use Hazardous Materials?
Most manufacturers have stopped using toxic chemicals and materials. Some have done this because it makes their products safe for customers. Others have only stopped using dangerous chemicals because the law dictates it.
Congress has passed many laws meant to protect the public health. An example is the Toxic Substances Control Act. This law requires companies to test all products for toxins before manufacturing them. Various regulatory bodies also track product safety to help protect consumers.
The federal government bans using lead-based paints, DDT, and asbestos in most products. But, even after manufacturers stop using a given substance, lawsuits over injuries arising from years of exposure can continue.
Illnesses arising from toxic materials or hazardous chemicals can give rise to injury claims. Some consumers file product liability lawsuits or sue under "toxic tort." Others file individual personal injury claims. It all depends on the facts of the case.
What Types of Products Threaten Human Health?
Certain chemical products are more dangerous than others. Asbestos, for example, is toxic to all humans. Lead exposure is another danger. While lead is more dangerous for children, it's still a toxin. Exposure to mixtures of these chemical substances can cause severe health effects.
Some of the more dangerous consumer and household products include:
- Cribs and playpens
- Children's toys
- Dangerous drugs
- Defective medical devices
- Cleaning products
- Bug sprays and pesticides
- Contaminated food or beverages
- Ceramics and craft materials
Some of these products contain asbestos. Others contain harsh chemicals that can make you sick.
You can sue the manufacturer if you're hurt while using these products. In most cases, your product liability lawyer can argue strict liability.
Most American companies are responsible for any injuries their dangerous products cause. But, you may have to prove the manufacturer or retailer was negligent. For example, if there is a labeling defect, you can sue the company for failing to warn of any dangers.
Again, it depends on the facts of your case and the nature of your injuries. You can get more information on how these cases work by visiting our product liability page.
Other Causes of Chemical Exposure
The products pose a danger to consumers. Other chemicals can be hazardous as well. For example, some experts believe that Teflon contains dangerous toxins. The same is true for smog. Most states have specific smog and emissions laws that apply to chemical manufacturers.
Some of the common causes of chemical exposure in the United States include:
- Auto emissions
- Contractors performing asbestos and lead-based paint removal
- Factories and power plants
- Workplace exposure
Hardly a day goes by that you don't encounter dangerous toxins. Even if you don't leave your house, you may still encounter specific chemicals in contaminated water or soil. You must also deal with air pollution, even living in a rural area.
One of the more dangerous chemicals used in consumer goods is asbestos. Asbestos is a fibrous mineral used in insulation and as a fire retardant in various products. Asbestos fibers are thin and light, so they remain in the air for a long time.
People who experience long-term exposure to these fibers may develop serious health complications.
The three most common causes of asbestos exposure include:
- Occupational exposure — People who work directly with asbestos in manufacturing plants, factories, etc.
- Paraoccupational exposure — Workers bring asbestos fibers into their homes on their clothing, shoes, hair, etc., and expose their families to these hazardous chemicals
- Neighborhood exposure — People live near factories that emit hazardous waste from asbestos
If you have developed an illness from asbestos exposure, you may have a claim for damages. This is true even if it takes years (or decades) to realize your injuries.
Legal Responsibility for Toxic Exposure
In some personal injury cases, it's easy to determine the responsible party. For example, if you are at the mall and you slip on a wet floor, the mall is likely liable for your injuries. With toxic exposure cases, it's not so easy.
It can be challenging to prove fault in these cases. It is harder to prove liability, and you may have to sue several parties. For example, in a product liability lawsuit, you may need to name the following parties in your complaint:
- Property owner
Your product liability attorney will help identify the parties responsible for your injuries. They'll also make sure you file your claim before the statute of limitations period expires.
A Products Liability Attorney Can Help
Filing a toxic materials lawsuit is complicated. It often requires medical evidence, expert witnesses, and a detailed knowledge of product liability law. It's best to consult an experienced attorney before filing suit.
Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.
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