Articles Posted in Chemical Exposure

Asbestos is a series of naturally occurring heat-resistant, fibrous minerals that are often used in fabrics, tiles, shingles, and other industrial or building materials. These materials become harmful when it suffers a disturbance, such as a break or crack. Long-term exposure to asbestos can lead to severe and permanent injuries or death. Asbestos exposure in Florida has been a serious threat to residents, especially those that work in the construction industry or military. Although many countries have implemented total bans on asbestos products, the United States continues to allow the material, in limited quantities. Individuals who believe they developed an illness because of asbestos exposure should contact a Florida asbestos exposure attorney.

Asbestos poses dangers because the microscopic fibers can easily become airborne and attach to a person’s respiratory system and lung tissue. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), even minimal amounts of exposure can post great dangers. Most individual’s immune systems cannot fight off, break, or remove the fibers. Exposure to asbestos can cause many health risks, such as scarring, inflammation, tumors, cancer, and chronic respiratory illnesses. The deadliest conditions are Mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis.

There are many different ways that Florida residents can suffer asbestos exposure; however, there are some occupations that face an elevated risk of exposure. The most common at-risk professions are construction workers, industrial workers, farmers, hairdressers, refinery workers, and military personnel. Additionally, the families of these individuals may also suffer through secondary exposure because workers can easily and unknowingly transfer fibers through their clothes or equipment. Asbestos is also used in cement, construction materials, hairdryers, and talcum powders.

In a recent opinion, Florida’s Supreme Court addressed whether an individual who suffers injuries because of a company’s discharge of toxic pollutants can hold the company liable for their damages. This case required the Supreme Court to dissect and analyze Florida’s 1970 Pollutant Discharge and Control Act (1970 Act) and the Water Quality Assurance Act of 1983 (1983 Act), ultimately finding in favor of a plaintiff who suffered serious personal injuries after contacting spilled battery acid.

Florida’s Statute of the 1983 Act imposes strict liability for the discharge of specific toxic pollutants. Some common pollutants are nerve agents, asbestos, sulfuric acid, benzene, pesticides, and silica. Exposure to these toxins can result in serious medical conditions, including, asbestosis, Hodgkin’s disease, lung disease, Leukemia, Lymphoma, and Mesothelioma. Most often, individuals suffer exposure through the workplace, use of medications and pharmaceuticals, and a person’s residence. In some instances, individuals may experience exposure through the air or drinking water. The most common defendants in these toxic torts cases are the company who polluted the groundwater, an employer who does not abide by workplace safety standards, or a home manufacturer or landlord who does not appropriately test for mold or lead.

The plaintiff was a tow truck driver responding to the scene of an accident involving a disabled semi-truck accident. The semi-truck was transporting batteries at the time of the accident, and the collision resulted in a massive battery acid spill. While preparing the semi-truck for towing, the plaintiff came into contact with battery acid and suffered chemical burns. The tow truck driver filed a lawsuit against the trucking company, arguing that the company was liable for this damages under strict liability theory according to the Acts. The defendant appealed the plaintiff’s $5 million jury award, arguing that the 1970 Act expressly bars personal injury actions arising from an environmental action, and the 1983 Act does not address damages.

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