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Pollution refers to contaminants introduced into our natural environment that cause harm, discomfort, instability or disorder. Pollutants can be either man-made substances or naturally occurring toxins. And they may make you sick depending on the dose and duration of exposure.
The contaminants also have consequences for the property values of your homes and the desirability of your community as a place to live. Not to mention the costs of water treatment upgrades for water providers, which somebody must pay for.
At W&L, our attorneys are working with managers of municipal water districts, as well as on behalf of individuals, who have suffered due to pollution in their environment. Typically, that pollution — and the damage it results in — is being caused by manufacturers and other parties.
Fighting Against Corporate Polluters
Our team is currently in the forefront of battling groundwater and drinking water contamination — whether it is lead in Flint Michigan, or PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) in Hoosick Falls, New York, or any of nearby towns: Petersburgh, New York; North Bennington, Vermont; and Merrimack, New Hampshire.
We’re also fighting for the right to safe air in the Aliso Canyon and Porter Ranch areas of California, where Southern California Gas Co. — SoCalGas — acknowledged a serious methane gas leak that was discharging noxious gases, chemicals and other contaminants into the air. We’re helping the people who are suffering from the negligence of SoCalGas. Not only their health has been affected; the community has been essentially dismantled and property values have plummeted. Nobody considers it a place to move their family to, due to the stigma associated with the gas leak.
Our environmental attorneys have also had major success when helping communities harmed by MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether), a chemical that refineries produce and add to gasoline. We’ve worked with many governmental agencies to fight the big corporations responsible and get substantial compensation for our clients. This compensation was for public water suppliers across the country who provide drinking water for ordinary citizens.
One of our proudest successes is how our advocacy earned compensations for hundreds of thousands of businesses and individuals harmed by the catastrophic British Petroleum (BP) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. We were able to secure compensation for damages to health and well-being, while focusing on the economic impact that the oil spill had — property damage and the loss of value — if not the actual land itself that homes and business were located on. Our clients included clean-up workers, fishermen, hotels, individual property owners, restaurants and other businesses.
We also represent Long Island municipalities and water districts whose aquifers have been contaminated by PCE (perchloroethylene), TCE (trichloroethylene) and other VOCs (volatile organic compounds), indicated as harmful to human health by the New York State Department of Health, as well as by other man-made contaminants.
Natural Contaminants Can Cause Health Issues
You can find benzene in the air we breathe, due to fumes from gasoline service stations, factory emissions, and exhaust from motor vehicles.
Chromium is another naturally occurring substance. In one form it is lethal. Manufacturers sometimes use chromium in working with metals.
Still other contaminants have been introduced as man-made substances, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). These substances may have been used in the production of electrical appliances, dry-cleaning solvents and adhesives.
These substances can also affect your health when chemical vapors go into residences.
Complications Vary in Type and Severity
The possible health complications are as numerous as the toxins causing them. Some are linked with short-term exposure. These include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain; headaches; coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath; and burning and irritation of the eyes and throat.
Chronic complications can be life-threatening yet difficult to predict. They may not occur for months, even years, after low-level exposure. And, given that many chemicals were introduced into the environment prior to their regulation, some may have been accumulating in an individual’s bones or tissues for decades.
These serious complications may include:
- Immune deficiency
- Heart disease
- Developmental disorders in children; and
- Damage to the reproductive system, kidneys, lungs and brain
In worst-case scenarios, a person may:
- Develop cancer in various organs in the body
- Enter into a coma
- Even die.
Weitz & Luxenberg Will Stand Up for You
Are you wondering if your medical concerns are related to toxic chemicals and other environmental pollutants in your home or workplace? Weitz & Luxenberg may be able to help. We’ve been successfully handling complicated medical lawsuits for the past 25 years. In fact, we are one of the largest personal injury and mass tort plaintiffs’ firms in the country, and we have won $17 billion in damages for our clients.
Before making a decision, we encourage you to ask the kinds of questions that will serve your needs best, such as what is that firm’s prior experience and what philosophy guides them in working with clients? We believe that with our consistent and superior results, Weitz & Luxenberg stands out, and we will dedicate ourselves to working for you.