Chemical exposure can create serious health risks to those exposed to toxic chemicals and in some cases, a toxic chemical incident can affect and kill several people. Toxic chemical exposure can occur in a number of ways, some of which involve a chemical leak, ingestion of the toxic chemical through product distributions, and long-term exposure to a toxic environment. Anyone who is negatively affected by such chemicals may file a lawsuit against the company or another party responsible. The lawyers at McGuire Law can provide you with the free legal advice needed to move forward with your claim. When you’re pursuing a personal injury claim, McGuire Law is ready to defend your rights.
Health Risks Associated with Toxic Exposure
Exposure pathways, ways an individual can come into contact with a toxic chemical; include inhaling, ingesting, or contacting the substance with their skin. Any one of these exposure pathways can cause psychological and physical impairments depending on the type of chemical and the duration of exposure. Some chemicals can cause respiratory problems, while others can have more long-term effects like cancer.
Toxic chemicals may affect the respiratory, digestive, circulatory, nervous, or reproductive systems. Strong acids, will cause immediate damage to the person’s skin upon first contact, but chemicals like gasoline will slowly soak into the skin, enter the bloodstream, and cause damage to the body. There is a long list of chemicals that can negatively affect certain body parts and systems.
Ammonia is a highly dangerous chemical in the form of a gas because if ammonia is inhaled, the linings of the nose, throat, and lungs become irritated. Adverse reactions to this type of irritation may lead to breathing problems or worse reactions if medical attention is not sought. Battery acid can cause permanent damage, however, to the skin and eyes which could lead to long-term vision problems.
An unborn baby can also be negatively affected if the chemical passes into the mother’s bloodstream. The substance will travel from the mother’s circulatory system to the umbilical cord, which connects directly to the fetus. These chemicals can hinder development and have a wide range of effects that may include disabilities, birth defects, learning impairments, and normal growth which can lead to underdevelopment.
Cancer is a prolonged effect of long-term exposure to chemicals like benzene, asbestos, and excessive amounts of radiation that may come from chemical spills from industries or a realtor selling an old home with asbestos. This is known as a delayed health effect, another example of which is lung disease, a permanent effect on the individual. In any of these cases, a toxic exposure claim can be filed against the industry or realtor in response to their failure to account for these toxic substances.
Common Types of Chemical Exposure
Chemical exposure can happen by inhaling toxic gases, vapors, dust, or mists. When inhaled, these chemicals will irritate the linings of the nose and trachea on their way to the lungs, where they will then be transported to the rest of the body through the circulatory system. Depending on what type of chemical was breathed in, the toxic substance may even pass the blood-brain barrier.
A substance might also be swallowed without realizing the toxicity of the food, drink, or other substance the chemical resides in. Food and water can become contaminated if they are exposed to toxic chemicals, which in most cases, happens by accident. Utensils and plates that are contaminated can also taint the food they come into contact with.
The skin and eyes are another primary sources of contact for toxic chemicals, especially if there are any cuts or scrapes on the skin that can provide a direct pathway to the bloodstream. Negative effects of exposure can worsen the longer the individual stays in contact with the substance. It is highly advised to wash the substance off as soon as you realize that the substance is unsafe.
Reducing Exposure to Toxic Chemicals
Be aware of your own home first. If you do not already know the year your house was built, find out because houses constructed before 1970 pose a higher risk of containing toxic chemicals. If your house fits this category, then asbestos may be in the insulation, mercury in old light switches and thermostats, or lead in plumbing systems and paint. The knowledge that mercury and lead are hazardous to health is a more recent discovery. Removing these chemicals from your home is a serious matter and requires professional help.
When you are working with dangerous substances at your job, be sure to follow any and all standard safety procedures. These procedures exist to protect you from harm and the company from lawsuits. Wear any required safety equipment, including goggles, gloves, masks, respirators, or coveralls. If you do come in contact with toxic dust, fumes, or radiation, ask for help and get away from these substances as fast as possible.
Before you leave your job, shower and change clothes because if not, you could be bringing toxic chemicals home to your family. Clothes, skin, and hair are great carriers of various types of chemicals. If necessary, wash your work clothes too before coming home. The most common types of jobs that involve chemical exposure are factories, chemical plants, manufacturing, and automotive shops.
Take Action if This Happens to You
If you are negatively affected by a toxic chemical exposure through the negligence of someone else, do not hesitate to take legal action. As discussed, toxic chemicals can cause short-term severe injuries and long-term diseases which can create extremely high medical bills. These expenses can tear a family apart emotionally and financially if compensation is not sought.
Toxic tort legal actions normally involve filing a personal injury claim and property damage claims. These claims can be brought by an individual or by a group of individuals who have all been negatively affected by the exposure. Sometimes entire communities are impacted by groundwater contamination, but in smaller cases, an employee at work is exposed for years to a toxic environment.
If any of these situations sound familiar to you, then do not hesitate to contact the best claims lawyer at Kent McGuire Law by dialing (405) 513-5658 for free legal advice in Oklahoma. We can help you get proper compensation to cover all of your pain and suffering, medical costs, and property damages.