Toxic Exposures Injury Lawsuits. Parker Waichman LLP offers free legal advice to victims of toxic exposures in the workplace. The firm is investigating potential lawsuits on behalf of people who have been injured by chemical exposure or whose children suffered birth defects as a result of this exposure. If you or a loved one were affected by exposure to toxic chemicals in the workplace and your child was born with birth defects our attorneys would like to speak with you. Call Parker Waichman LLP today for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your case.
Toxic Exposure and Birth Defects
Sometimes, exposure to a harmful chemical in a pregnant woman can lead to serious birth defects in her child. Exposure to pesticides, fungicides, lead, heavy metals, paint and other substances can increase the risk of birth defects. Lawsuits have been filed on behalf of people who work in settings that are known to increase the risk of birth defects, including semiconductor manufacturing facilities, metal cleaning operations, paint factories and beauty salons. Birth defects may also arise from chemicals that have contaminated the air or groundwater in a community.
There are different types of birth defects; some are structural, meaning that a part of the body is missing or abnormally formed, while others are metabolic and affect the body’s chemistry. A neural tube defect (NTD), for example, is when the neural tube does not close completely. Spina bifida and anencephaly are the most common forms of NTD. The most common structural birth defects involve the heart, such as:
- Atrial and ventricular septal defects
- Patent ductus arteriosus
- Aortic or pulmonary valve stenosis
Metabolic birth defects affect approximately 1 in 3,500 babies. These types of birth defects affect the body’s chemistry and although they are not always physically noticeable, they can have detrimental and even fatal effects. The chemical pathway responsible for removing wastes and toxins, for examples, may be interrupted by a metabolic defect. Examples of metabolic disorders include phenylketonuira (PKU) and congenital hypothyroidism.
Motorola Birth Defect Lawsuit
In 2010, a group of former Motorola employees who worked for the company between 1965 and 2007 filed a lawsuit alleging that exposure to toxic chemicals while making semiconductors caused birth defects in at least 30 of their children. The lawsuit involved 71 Plaintiffs who claim that company knew about the dangers of working with semiconductor materials, but failed to implement proper precautions to protect its workers. The Plaintiff’s children experienced a number of birth defects, including:
- Cerebral palsy
- Spina bifida
- Language delays
- Brain malformations
- Physical or skeletal deformities, including two born with only one ear
As evidence of the fact that Motorola knew or should have known about these risks, the lawsuit cited a 1986 study by IBM and Johns Hopkins University showing that exposure to substances used by Motorola could lead to reproductive harm.
IBM Toxic Waste Lawsuit
Not all cases of toxic exposure come from the workplace. In 2008, about 90 current and former residents of Endicott, New York filed a lawsuit against IBM alleging that the company’s factory released a “toxic plume” into the groundwater that also contaminated the air and soil. The lawsuit alleges that the pollution caused property damage, wrongful death and personal injury, including congenital heart defects in children and kidney cancer in adults.
The lawsuit stated that IBM “should have known that the volatile organic chemicals that [it] had wrongfully discharged into the air, soils and groundwater, and which had contaminated the groundwater beneath the Village of Endicott and the Town of Union, would remain volatile in the soil for substantial periods of time, exceeding decades, and would migrate, as vapors, into the homes, businesses, schools and churches located above the contaminated groundwater plume,”
Workplace Exposures Can Lead to Serious Injuries
Injuries from chemical exposure occur most often in a workplace setting. Whether it happens over a long period of time or as a single event, occupational exposure can have detrimental, even fatal, consequences. A one-time exposure can include the spill, splash, explosion, or inhalation of a harmful chemical; this can lead to serious injuries, including eye injuries, skin burns or damage to the respiratory tract. Neurological injuries, such as memory loss or brain damage, can also occur when a worker has short-term exposure to a toxic substance.
When a worker experiences long-term or chronic exposure to a toxic chemical, the consequences can be permanent or even fatal. Unfortunately, a worker may not even realize that they have been exposed to a harmful chemical until years later. Injuries from long-term toxic exposure include asthma, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, scarring of the lungs, nerve damage, leukemia, and aplastic anemia. Toxic substances that are harmful or carcinogenic include:
- Aniline dyes
- Coal tar
- Ethylene glycol ether
- Diesel fumes
- Sodium hydroxide (lye)
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