The New York Times has been running articles for a project called Toxic Waters, a series about “the worsening pollution in American waters and regulators’ response.” The lead story discusses a family in West Virginia, whose children have suffered serious injuries from drinking tap water. According to tests, their tap water contains arsenic, barium, lead, manganese and other chemicals at concentrations federal regulators say could contribute to cancer and damage the kidneys and nervous system. The family filed a civil personal injury lawsuit against several coal companies for contaminating their water supply.
In Illinois, a state with a relatively clean water supply, there have been several instances of water pollution violations. For instance, earlier this year the town of Crestwood made headlines when it was discovered that the town had been drawing from a contaminated well since more than 20 years. Chicago residents may also be mindful of BP’s efforts to dump pollutants into Lake Michigan. The New York Times report allows viewers to “Find Water Polluters Near You” in every state, including Illinois.
The New York Times project serves as a reminder of what is called toxic exposure, and such cases are commonly referred to as toxic torts. Toxic exposure can have devastating consequences. Some toxins are known to cause cancer, birth defects and brain injury. If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury or illness as a result of toxic exposure, contact a personal injury lawyer today.
Several decades ago, the Clean Water Act was enacted to require polluters to disclose the toxins they dump into waterways and to give regulators the power to fine or jail offenders. Most states have passed similar pollution statutes of their own. However, according to the New York Times study and Freedom of Information Requests, violations of the Clean Water Act and state anti-pollution statutes have risen steadily across the nation in recent years.
Indeed, over the last five years, chemical factories, manufacturing plants and other companies have violated water pollution laws more than half a million times. Violations range from failing to report emissions to dumping toxins at concentrations regulators say might contribute to cancer, birth defects and other illnesses. Toxic exposure is not limited to consumers. Workers in particular professions that deal with chemicals, such as welding, pesticide manufacturing, oil tankers and refineries and even painters, may suffer illness or injury due to toxic exposure.
Injuries sustained as a result of toxic exposure include, but are not limited to:
• Lung Cancer
• Brain Cancer
• Brain Damage
• Neurological Disorders
In addition to the Clean Water Act, there are federal and state regulations that govern the use of toxins, proper disposal and safety measures. Furthermore, there are different agencies, such as the EPA or OSHA, which are responsible for enforcing rules and regulations regarding toxins. Due to the complexity of such a case, it is recommended to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure your rights are protected and that you received just compensation. For a free consultation with a top Chicago-based injury attorney with Passen & Powell, call us at (312) 527-4500.