Toxic exposure from coming in contact with chemical, biological, or physical toxins in the air, water, food, or soil can have a harmful effect on human health. Environmental exposure can occur when industries willfully pollute waterways, or during and after environmental disasters. Unfortunately, many diseases that are related to chemical exposure may be misdiagnosed or go undiagnosed for years, leaving victims unaware of the connection between their illness and the chemical or toxic exposure.
Our team of lawyers stands ready to assist, from helping individual communities, cities and towns to representing states and regions against companies responsible for environmental damage.
Diseases Caused by Environmental or Chemical Exposure
Any of the following diagnoses should be investigated for a possible toxic exposure claim.
- Mesothelioma – caused by exposure to asbestos, a mineral widely used in construction, shipbuilding, and friction products.
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – caused by glyphosate, the active ingredient in the weed killer Roundup.
- Acute Myeloid Leukemia – caused by benzene, a chemical used in petrochemicals production, oil and gas refining, coke and coal chemical manufacturing, and rubber tire manufacturing.
- Bronchiolitis Obliterans, a.k.a. Popcorn Lung – caused by exposure to Diacetyl, or chemicals associated with Diacetyl, including alpha-diketone, 2,3-butanedione, or Chemical Abstracts Service Number 431-0308. The dreadful disease can also be caused by exposure to fiberglass and/or styrene during the manufacturing process.
- Coal Worker’s Pneumoconiosis, a.k.a. Black Lung – caused by exposure to coal dust.
- Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis (HP) – general category of interstitial lung diseases caused by an immune response to an inhaled substance, including diacetyl, mold, dust and wood.
- Kidney Cancer – caused by exposure to trichloroethylene or TCE, used as an industrial solvent.
- Lead – high levels of lead exposure can cause a number of serios, permanent injuries, particularly in children, who can suffer irreversible brain damage.
One-time Release Toxic Chemicals
Severe lung injuries may result from a single exposure to a toxic substance. Sometimes, accidents or product defects may result in a one-time or short-term exposure to a very high concentration of chemicals or toxic substances that can cause severe, often irreversible injuries. These injuries may include death or permanent diminishment or loss of eyesight, lung function, taste, smell or mobility. Chemicals most often associated with this type of injury include:
- Chlorine and chlorine gas
- Vinyl Acetate
- Petroleum Hydrocarbons in the oil field industry
- High concentrate acids
BP Oil Spill
On April 20, 2010, a massive offshore oil rig known as the Deepwater Horizon, owned and operated by Transocean in the Gulf of Mexico and under lease to oil giant BP, exploded and caught fire in the Gulf of Mexico, about 50 miles from Louisiana’s coastal wetlands. Firefighters and the U.S. Coast Guard fought for two days to contain the fire, but the rig sank on April 22, releasing nearly a million gallons of diesel fuel into the Gulf waters and creating an unstoppable leak of crude that eventually became the biggest oil disaster the U.S. has ever seen. Beasley Allen toxic tort attorneys represented the State of Alabama as well as thousands of businesses and individuals in litigation seeking to hold BP accountable for damages resulting from the oil spill.
Coal Ash Spill
On Dec. 22, 2008, a coal ash impoundment at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Kingston Fossil Plant ruptured sending a deluge of toxic slurry onto over 300 acres and into nearby waterways, becoming the largest industrial accident in U.S. history. The health and environmental ramifications from the TVA spill were enormous and clean-up cost more than $1 billion and nearly a decade to complete. The TVA later agreed to pay $27.8 million to the victims of the massive coal ash spill.
A community’s water supply can become contaminated by nearby industries and result in toxic exposure. As a result, state and municipal water systems are left struggling with costly upgrades to water filtration systems, while residents in their community are unable to drink their tap water for fear of water contamination. Beasley Allen works to hold the companies that pollute the water system responsible for paying for the cleanup. In 2003, our firm helped bring a $700 million verdict for PCB contamination for more than 20,000 current and former residents of Calhoun County, Alabama—the largest private environmental settlement in U.S. history at the time. In addition to filing claims for individuals, our firm also represents state and municipal governments in litigation of this type.
Environmental Exposure Lawsuits
Many environmental exposure or toxic exposure cases in which large corporate polluters cause a large number of people to suffer economic losses are brought on as class action lawsuits. A class action, sometimes called mass tort litigation or multidistrict litigation, is a lawsuit where a group of people with the same or similar injuries caused by a product or action are represented collectively by a member or members of that group.
Environmental Exposure Lawyer
Environmental exposure can cause devastating health effects and leave victims with mounting medical bills, and Beasley Allen aims to hold those responsible for toxic exposure accountable. Beasley Allen lawyers in our Toxic Torts Section work to protect people and property from toxic chemicals and environmental pollution that result from negligence and wrongful conduct. Our lawyers are currently cases of injury or death either due to environmental exposure or occupational exposure. If you have any questions about a potential claim, please contact Rhon Jones, Rick Stratton, or Ryan Kral, who handle toxic exposure for our firm.