Erin Brockovich and W&L Responding to Air Quality Issues in Portland, Oregon

UPDATE: Weitz & Luxenberg is no longer accepting  new clients for this lawsuit.

Long-time environmental activist Erin Brockovich is joining with Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C., attorney Robin Greenwald to investigate claims from Portland, Oregon area residents who may have been harmed by chemical emissions released into the air by art-glass companies in the region. 

Public Health Emergency Due to Chemical Emissions

In early February, Oregon officials notified the public that scientists had detected exceptionally high levels of the toxic metals arsenic and cadmium in specific areas, or hotspots, of Portland.

According to news sources, the level of arsenic was 159 times greater than acceptable levels for that toxin and 49 times greater than for cadmium. 

Both of Oregon’s U.S. senators have declared the toxic air a public health emergency.

Chronic exposure to these toxic chemicals can lead to:

  • Cancers, including lung, bladder, skin, kidney and liver
  • Cardiovascular illnesses
  • Lung damage
  • Renal dysfunction
  • Gastrointestinal damage
  • Reproductive dysfunction

According to news reports, two environmental groups have presented lawmakers with a petition signed by thousands of citizens requesting that the Department of Environmental Quality take appropriate action to see that the quality of the air is improved.

”I can’t believe that in this day and age companies would knowingly allow their dangerous chemicals to pollute the air. It’s outrageous. We have known for decades the harm these toxic chemicals are capable of causing,” stated Erin Brockovich.

The federal Clean Air Act requires metropolitan areas to monitor high levels of certain air pollutants. But this monitoring has not included monitoring for certain dangerous airborne chemical emissions, including arsenic and cadmium.

Long-Term Effects of Glass Company Actions

”We already know these toxic chemical emissions have contaminated the air and soil. Residents have even been warned not to eat vegetables they’ve grown in their own gardens,” stated Greenwald, who heads Weitz & Luxenberg’s Environmental, Toxic Tort & Consumer Protection Unit.

”It is tragic that for months, maybe even decades, these chemicals were causing injury to residents and no one notified the public until now. People in the vicinity of the facility have reported injures directly associated with exposure to these chemicals, and no one knows how many more people might develop illnesses from exposure in years to come,” she added.

Weitz & Luxenberg is a long-time advocate for residents, businesses and other property owners who have suffered personal as well as economic injuries resulting from dangerous chemical emissions. Over the years, the law firm has represented many individuals who suffered both personal and economic losses following environmental catastrophes. In addition to affecting health, this type of toxin affects quality of life, as well as the property value of homes and businesses.

One of Weitz & Luxenberg’s most recognized cases involved joining other law firms in holding BP accountable for the incalculable health and economic losses following the oil giant’s offshore drilling explosion, which spewed millions of gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, Greenwald said.

Weitz & Luxenberg, along with other law firms, persuaded BP to enter a financial settlement compensating hundreds of thousands of individuals whose lives and livelihoods were harmed, including residents and oil spill clean-up workers who became sick from exposure to the oil,  added Greenwald, who played a key role in the settlement negotiations.

Money May Be Owed to Victims for Health and Property Damage

Although several of the art-glass companies that may have been responsible for leaching hazardous chemical emissions into the environment have suspended their use of these chemicals, the damage has already been done.

Portland residents who have been affected by the chemical emissions are invited to contact Weitz & Luxenberg for a no-cost, no-obligation evaluation of their legal rights against the parties involved with the toxic chemical emissions.

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