Health Effects of Chemical Exposure

Health Effects of Chemical Exposure

People come into contact with chemicals every day, such as household cleaners, pesticides, pollution emissions, and car exhausts. While exposure to certain chemicals is safe, exposure to harmful chemicals can make you sick and can negatively affect your health long-term. Common types of toxic chemicals associated with toxic tort cases include:

  • Asbestos or mold
  • Benzene
  • Arsenic
  • Cadmium
  • Lead
  • Pesticides
  • Silica
  • Manganese
  • Sodium trioxide or dioxide
  • Mercury

How Toxic Chemicals Can Affect Your Body & Health

How exposure to a toxic chemical affects you can vary based on how much of the chemical you were exposed to, how long you have been exposed, your individual health, and more. While some people may come into contact with a chemical and suffer no harm, others may get very sick. Toxic chemical exposure can lead to health concerns, such as:

  • Cardiovascular system issues, such as heart failure, issues with your arteries, or the inability of blood to carry oxygen throughout the body. Cardiovascular system health issues may result from exposure to carbon monoxide, carbon disulfide, nitrates, or methylene chloride.
  • Hepatic system, such as the death of liver cells, liver damage, formation of tumors, or accumulation of fat. Hepatic system issues may be the result of exposure to vinyl chloride, methylene chloride, or carbon tetrachloride.
  • Immune system issues, such as autoimmunity (which causes the body to attack itself), severe allergies or reaction to environmental substances, or system failure. Immune system problems may be the result of exposure to mercury, lead, pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
  • Nervous system issues, such as loss of feeling, paralysis, or loss of or decrease in sight, memory, coordination, and muscle coordination. Nervous system problems may be the result of exposure to arsenic, cadmium, cyanide, or carbon monoxide.
  • Renal system issues, such as kidney tissue damage, kidney cancer, prevented urine flow, or decreased formation of urine. Renal system health concerns may result from exposure to cadmium, lead, mercury, or uranium.
  • Reproductive system issues, such as infertility, increased birth defects increased baby deaths, and other difficulties having children. Reproductive system health problems may be the result of exposure to lead, carbon monoxide, or methyl mercury.
  • Respiratory issues, such as lung cancer, bronchitis, asbestosis, fibrosis, emphysema, or a decreased oxygen supply in the blood. Respiratory health issues may be the result of exposure to asbestos, soot, carbon monoxide, radon, benzene, or cadmium.
  • Skin issues, such as discoloration, dermatitis, rashes or irritation, and other chemical exposure health effects related to your organs or systems due to skin contamination. Skin issues may be the result of exposure to arsenic, nickel, mercury, chromium, or volatile organic compounds.

Potential Sources of Chemical Exposure in Your Home & Environment

Harmful chemicals can enter your body when you eat, drink, or breathe and can also be absorbed through your skin. From inadequate safety measures to chemical spills and negligent disposal, you can be exposed to dangerous chemicals in a multitude of places including your home, workplace, or environment. Potential pathways for hazardous exposure include:

  • Recreational hazards, including but not limited to desks, picnic tables, rails, or playsets made with chemical wood preservatives, certain play sands and clay with heavy metals, talc, solvents, and silica, or toxic materials found in stained glass, jewelry, oil and airbrush painting, woodworking, soldering, and model building materials.
  • Pesticides, such as ingestion, skin contact, or excess inhalation can have harmful effects.
  • Lead products or waste, which can be found in gasoline, paint, pipes, drinking water, deteriorated paint, dust, food, or air particles.
  • Household products, including but not limited to dry-cleaned clothing, hobby supplies (i.e. glue, resin, etc.), insect repellents, paint and paint strippers, wood preservatives, fuels, air fresheners, candles (with leaded wicks), cleansers or disinfectants, and aerosol sprays.
  • Contaminated soil, which is typically the result of industry, agriculture, and wastewater.
  • Contaminated drinking water, which can become contaminated by local land-use practices, manufacturing, excess or imbalanced natural chemicals and minerals, or sewer and wastewater overflows.

To protect yourself from exposure to hazardous chemicals, you can take steps to:

  • Adhere to disposal instructions for paint, batteries, electronics, and other products that have chemicals
  • Avoid burning treated wood
  • Avoid smoking cigarettes or secondhand smoke
  • Be more aware of the chemicals in products you use while cleaning or gardening
  • Be more aware of the pollutants and contaminants you may encounter at home and work or in areas you frequent
  • Ensure your home is ventilated properly and regularly schedule HVAC maintenance
  • Monitor how much and what type of fish you eat as some fish are high-mercury
  • Read labels if they have chemical exposure warnings on the packaging
  • Wash fruits, vegetables, and produce as needed
  • Wash your hands regularly

Toxic Tort Claims

If you are exposed to a dangerous substance in an environment in which you should have been protected by the building owners, your employer, or another party, you can take legal action to recover compensation for your damages. Specifically, you can file a toxic tort claim. Most toxic tort claims are filed as a class-action suit, but individuals can file a toxic tort lawsuit by themselves.

Toxic tort claims can be complex, which is why you should consult with an attorney before filing because the following aspects can be challenging.

  • Figuring out who to sue. Plaintiffs may not know whether they should sue a manufacturer, distributor, or company after suffering injuries from chemical exposure. For example, if airborne pollutants caused homeowners in an industrial area to develop health conditions they may not know which local company is responsible for the pollution. In most cases, it would be best to sue any party or entity that is linked to the substance. However, an attorney will know the best course of action for your specific claim.
  • Proving causation. For a case to be successful, you must prove that plaintiff’s illness was caused by a specific chemical that was manufactured, distributed, or mismanaged by the defendant.
  • Gathering evidence. Many plaintiffs may have suffered from the effects of chemical exposure for years before they bring a suit forward. As years since the initial exposure may have passed, finding witnesses or information can present a challenge. These cases also rely heavily on science, which is a constantly evolving field. Finding a study or case where the plaintiff’s health conditions or illnesses are connected to a specific chemical substance can be difficult but can make or break a case.

If you or a loved one have suffered health complications because of an unwilful exposure to toxic chemicals, contact Golomb Legalto schedule a case consultation today by calling (215) 278-4449. We represent clients throughout the United States and have recovered millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for clients who were harmed by an entity’s negligence or unlawfulness in exposing them to hazardous chemicals.