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Toxic Exposure and Tort Actions in New Jersey and New York

Exposure to Toxic Substances on the Job or in the Environment

People and communities that have been exposed to toxic substances run the risk of becoming ill and may face myriad other problems. The kinds of toxic substances believed or known to cause illness to people and/or animals vary greatly and continue to grow in number. That list includes PDBE, Dioxin, PCDD, PCDFs, PCBs, TCDD, PFCs, BPA, Phthalates, PCE, TCE, vinyl chloride, pesticides, arsenic, lead, mercury or other potentially harmful substances:

  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PDBE), a compound used in flame retardants
  • Dioxin, which can refer to a number of persistent toxic chemical compounds that are by-products of various industrial and agricultural applications, including:
    • Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs)
    • Polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs), also known as furans
    • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) that have dioxin-like properties
    • 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), perhaps the most well-studied polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxin, believed to be toxic to humans and animals
    • Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), which are used in various applications to make materials stain, oil, and water resistant
    • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which were once widely used as dielectric and coolant fluids (e.g., in transformers, capacitors, and electric motors) but are now banned
    • Bisphenol A (BPA), a compound used to make polymers, resins and plastics
    • Phthalates, which were once common plasticizers, i.e., substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity
    • Chlorinated solvents such as, perchloroethylene or tetrachloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE)
    • Vinyl chloride, a chlorinated compound and common breakdown product of TCE and PCE, which are commonly used chlorinated solvents
    • Pesticides, which refers to a mixture of chemical and other substances used to suppress or kill unwanted vegetative or animal species
    • Arsenic, which has properties that strengthen metals and alloys
    • Lead, a heavy metal with many uses and a reputation for toxicity in humans and animals
    • Mercury, another heavy metal with various scientific uses, many of which have been discontinued due to toxicity and health concerns
    • Asbestos, which refers to a number of naturally occurring minerals that were used in industrial and commercial applications because of desirable properties (e.g., heat resistance, sound absorption, and strength)

Exposure to toxic substances can occur in a number of ways. Some people in New Jersey and New York may be exposed due to the dispersal of toxic substances in the air of their workplace or residence. For example, people may be exposed to asbestos either through the functions of their work (e.g., demolition of buildings where asbestos was used), or because they work or reside in close proximity to where asbestos has been used. Likewise, exposure to PDBE, Dioxin, PCDD, PCDFs, PCBs, TCDD, PFCs, BPA, Phthalates, PCE, TCE, vinyl chloride, pesticides, arsenic, lead, mercury, or other potentially harmful substances can occur through air, water, or dermal contact with materials containing these substances. New Jersey and New York residents and workers exposed to these substances should immediately seek help from environmental and/or medical professionals, as the circumstances require.

Workers’ Compensation Claims for Those Exposed to Harmful Chemicals on the Job

Persons who are exposed to toxic substances at the workplace in New Jersey or New York may often file what is called a workers’ compensation claim. Workers compensation claims are claims filed when individuals are injured as a result of workplace harm. However, even when workers’ compensation claims are appropriate, they are not always the only legal remedy available persons exposed to toxic substances in New Jersey or New York.

Toxic Tort Lawsuits for Those Exposed to Harmful Chemicals or other Substances

Anyone who has been exposed to a toxic substance or has suffered toxic exposure may commence what is called a toxic tort action or toxic tort litigation in New Jersey or New York state or federal courts, as appropriate. Toxic tort litigations refer to cases where it is alleged that an individual has become harmed as a result of exposure to a harmful chemical or harmful substance. In New Jersey and New York, a toxic tort lawsuit may include claims for personal injuries actually sustained, for fear of future injury based on the toxic exposure, degradation of quality of life because of the toxic substance exposure, declining property values because of the presence of toxic substance or stigma associated with the toxic substance, and many other claims depending on the circumstances.

The phrase toxic tort litigation may also be known as a toxic exposure lawsuit or a toxic chemical lawsuit. Regardless of the title, these are all lawsuits filed as a result of actual personal injuries, fear or future injury, or property damage related to exposure to a potentially toxic substance, such as PDBE, Dioxin, PCDD, PCDFs, PCBs, TCDD, PFCs, BPA, Phthalates, PCE, TCE, vinyl chloride, pesticides, arsenic, lead, mercury or other potentially harmful substances.

Governments and the public are learning a lot more about plastics as forming a basis for toxic tort litigation. Chemicals such as PBDE, vinyl chloride, PFC, BPA and similar chemicals are found routinely in New York and New Jersey, and throughout the United States. Many of these chemicals have been associated with significant harm. Exposure occurs at certain concentrations for certain periods of time. In these cases, litigation may be necessary in order to insure that exposed persons’ medical bills are paid, that they are reimbursed for damages (including out of pocket costs), personal injury, and—where warranted—punitive damages.

Environmental Lawyers Representing People in Toxic Exposure and Tort Actions

People and communities in New Jersey and New York who are exposed to PDBE, Dioxin, PCDD, PCDFs, PCBs, TCDD, PFCs, BPA, Phthalates, PCE, TCE, vinyl chloride, pesticides, arsenic, lead, mercury or other potentially harmful substances, often need legal assistance. In cases involving harmful substances that persist in the environment and may cause serious illness or damage, exposed persons must be able to rely on experienced legal counsel to protect their rights. The environmental and toxic tort litigators at Lieberman & Blecher can do just that. Our environmental lawyers have combined decades of experience working on cases that involve complex issues of environmental degradation, toxicity of contaminants, and impact to sensitive places and populations. We have long been litigating toxic exposure claims were people in New Jersey and New York have been impacted by harmful substances in their air, water and soil. Where complex scientific and environmental issues are involved, people exposed to toxic substances need experienced environmental law firm that has a record of achieving lasting results for its clients. They need the environmental and toxic tort lawyers at Lieberman & Blecher.

 

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