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Chemicals are an integral part of every single thing we interact with on a daily basis, from the food we eat to the products we use. Most chemicals we come into contact with are harmless, but in high enough proportions, some chemicals can be dangerous, even downright deadly. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize the devastating impact chemical exposure can have on their health and their lives until it is too late.
Whether you’ve been exposed to dangerous amounts of chemicals at work or home, if you’ve been injured, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries and medical care. At Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC, our mission is to use our resources and extensive experience in the legal field to help victims whose lives have been altered by chemical exposure.
You shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s negligence or reckless disregard for your safety. If you believe that chemical exposure caused your injury or illness, contact the Lake Charles personal injury attorneys at Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC today. Schedule a no-obligation legal consultation by calling 337-800-8800 and get the law working for you.
What Is Chemical Exposure?
Defining what makes a chemical toxic can sometimes be difficult. Some chemicals are immediately reactive and cause a great deal of damage in even small proportions, while others may require either large doses or sustained exposure over a long period of time for negative effects to manifest. At its core, chemical exposure is typically considered to have occurred when a person comes into contact or is exposed to a chemical substance through touching, breathing, eating, or drinking. This exposure then results in a harmful or negative consequence.
While the definition may seem simple enough, there are different ways in which a person may come to find out they’ve been exposed to harmful chemicals. A person may have an acute, or immediate reaction, to a chemical or toxic substance. Acute exposure is defined as exposure to a chemical substance for a duration of 14 days or less. An acute response may be immediate, like a skin reaction, tearing of the eyes, breathing difficulties, coughing, or nausea. In some cases, depending on the chemical, a reaction may also be slightly delayed.
Chronic chemical exposure is exposure to a chemical or toxic substance over an extended period of time. This period can be just months or even years. This type of exposure can be extremely dangerous because there are some chemicals, like PCBs and lead, that will build up in the body over time. Therefore, the longer you’ve been exposed and the more the chemical has built up over time, the more damage there is to the body.
Types of Toxic Chemical Exposure
There are several different ways that a person may become the unsuspecting victim of chemical exposure. One of the leading ways that people become exposed to dangerous chemicals is through their place of employment. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration finds that American workers interact with tens of thousands of chemicals every day. More than 190,000 of those employees will become ill and 50,000 will die as a result of that chemical exposure in the workplace.
These are the most common types of chemical exposure:
- Occupational Exposure: While government agencies like OSHA exist to enforce safe workplace regulations, not all employers follow proper procedures and guidelines. Some may value profit over safety or fail to complete safety inspections or audits that could keep workers safe. Chemical exposure is not uncommon in industrial settings, but construction sites, treatment facilities, places with pools, funeral homes, or offices that regularly use cleaning products or solvents may also be exposing workers to hazardous chemicals. Workers can be exposed to a range of dangerous chemicals, including asbestos, arsenic, and benzene. OSHA has a complete list of dangerous chemicals and their exposure limits.
- Exposure in the Home: Unfortunately, we may even come into contact with dangerous chemicals in our own homes. From dangerous pesticides and herbicides to toxic mold from imported drywall, chemical exposure can occur where we least expect it.
- Consumer Products: One of the ways we may be exposed to toxic chemicals at home is through the sale and use of consumer products. There have been a number of recent cases of popular household chemicals that have caused unintended illnesses and other negative health consequences.
- Environmental Exposure: Environmental exposure can be the result of chemicals or solvents that have leached into the water or soil, causing serious health concerns for individuals and families. Some forms of pollution or the aerosol spraying of pesticides can also lead to environmental chemical exposure.
Impacts of Chemical Exposure
It’s hard to pin down the exact health impacts of chemical exposure because it can manifest in the human body in a huge variety of ways. The way it manifests will depend upon the nature of the chemical, the length of exposure, the dose of the chemical, and the type of exposure: was it touched, ingested, or inhaled?
This is a list of some of the more common effects of chemical exposure:
- Kidney disease
- Liver damage
- Lung damage
- Organ failure
- Skin irritation
- Weakening of the immune system
- Sudden development of asthma, allergies, or breathing difficulties
- Chronic bronchitis
- Reproductive problems including low sperm count, difficulty conceiving
- Birth defects
- Developmental delays
- Mental or intellectual problems
- Cognitive difficulties
- Numbness, inability to move, or nerve damage
In part, chemical exposure cases can be challenging because you must be able to tie a wide range of negative health impacts to the direct exposure to the chemical. In many situations, the company or individual responsible for the exposure will try to say that health problems are the result of poor diet, lifestyle choices, or any number of other environmental factors that have nothing to do with being exposed to a chemical agent. That defense can seem particularly strong when it takes months or years for symptoms to begin appearing.
Putting together a solid chemical exposure case and fighting back against claims that anything other than chemical exposure is to blame for your health concerns is like fitting together the pieces of a vast and complex puzzle. The legal team of Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC is willing to take on just this kind of case. That’s because we are passionate about helping chemical exposure victims get the compensation they deserve.
Who Is Liable in a Toxic Chemical Case?
When it comes to chemical exposure cases, who can be held responsible? There may be various parties responsible, depending on the circumstances of your case and how you were exposed to the chemical in the first place. In some cases, more than one party could be liable for the incident that led to your exposure or continued exposure.
In general, these are the parties that may bear some responsibility for a chemical exposure case:
- Your employer
- The manufacturer of a toxic product
- The distributor or supplier of a toxic product
- Third-party contractors
- Owners or lessors of the property where the exposure took place
- Companies that store chemicals
- The driver of a spilled chemical tanker-truck
If you have been exposed to chemicals while at work, your employer could be held liable if negligence is involved or if the company ignored federal safety procedures and guidelines. Employers are required by federal law to provide a safe working environment for their employees.
Employees who have suffered from chemical exposure may have legal options at their disposal in order to recover compensation for their injuries. Contacting an experienced chemical exposure attorney is your best bet when it comes to identifying all your legal options in any chemical exposure situation.
Our Chemical Exposure Attorneys Want to Hear from You
The consequences of chemical exposure can not only be devastating, but they can be far-reaching. You may feel like you are experiencing a new symptom or adverse reaction every day. Chemical exposures can wreak havoc on one particular part of the body, or impact several different systems, causing a host of medical problems.
The one thing that is a given is that treating these ailments adds up. The current medicals costs and those for future treatment can be astronomical. The toll financial worries can take on your mental health is incalculable. Chemical exposure has already damaged you physically, don’t let it ruin you financially too.
At Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC, we have the resources and experience it takes to tackle the complicated nature of chemical exposure cases. Contact us today at 337-800-8800 to discuss your case with a compassionate and seasoned attorney.