What is environmental contamination?
Environmental contamination occurs when industry or individuals intentionally or negligently discharge or release chemicals, toxic substances, hazardous wastes, biological and/or radioactive agents, or other substances into the air we breathe, the water we drink, or the ground we walk on and on which our homes and schools are built. lt is estimated that more than fifty percent (50%) of the earth’s water supplies are contaminated and not fit for human consumption. Current estimates reveal that there are over 18,000 hazardous waste sites in the U.S., and that 53% of Americans live within three miles of a hazardous waste site.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was established in 1970 under the Nixon administration in response to widespread industrial contamination which resulted in environmental disasters such as Love Canal. Congress authorized the EPA to enforce environmental laws and regulations and order and oversee cleanup of hazardous waste sites. After the creation of the EPA Congress passed robust laws to prohibit practices that could threaten the health of humans and the environment.
Federal environmental laws such as the Clean Air Act (CAA), Clean Water Act (CWA), Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation Act (CERCLA), Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA), and Federal Insecticide Rodenticide Act (FIRA), were enacted to stop illegal discharges, set pollution limits, and hold industrial and commercial polluters accountable for their actions by criminal and civil prosecution. Even with EPA enforcement activities and strong laws regulations environmental contamination continues to threaten the quality of the water we drink, the air we breathe and the soil that bears our crops and our children play on. Industrial polluters often evade detection and enforcement, and by the time their dirty deeds are discovered the resulting damage could be irreparable.
What are common sources of air pollution?
The most common sources of air pollutants are factories, refineries, coal fired power plants, incinerators, wood treatment plants, industrial agriculture, oil and gas production facilities, natural gas compressor stations, pipelines, motor vehicles, building materials, and cleaning activities. There are many other potential sources of air pollution, so please feel free to call us for more information.
What are the most toxic air pollutants we can be exposed to?
Sources of air pollution can release fumes, vapors, solvents, dust, heavy metals lead, arsenic mercury, cadmium, chromium and mercury, sulphur dioxide, elemental carbon, fine particulate matter (PM), pesticides, insecticides, dioxins, PCBs, benzene, asbestos, silica, poly aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and fine suspended particles.
What illnesses are associated with exposure to air pollutants?
Exposure to air pollutants are linked to serious medical conditions such as asthma, reactive airways disease (RADs), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, leukemia, cancers, mesothelioma, asbestosis, liver and kidney disease. Air pollution can occur indoors as well as outdoors.
What are sources of water pollution?
Reservoirs (surface water) and ground water (aquifers) are the primary sources of domestic potable water supplies – the very water we use every day for drinking, cooking, and bathing. Sources of water pollution can be waste pipelines, refineries, manufacturing plants, smelting operations, mining, underground storage tanks (USTs), landfills, chemical spills, oil and gas drilling, hydraulic fracturing, dry-cleaning facilities and coal waste ash pits.
What pollutants can contaminate groundwater?
Pollutants such as pesticides, Teflon and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)(also known as C-8), perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), benzene, toluene, trichloroethylene, perchloroethylene (PCE, PERC), 1,4 Dioxane, lead, PCBs, MTBE, arsenic, lead, mercury, and hexavalent chromium, fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) can be found in groundwater.
What health effects are connected with exposure contaminated water?
Drinking, cooking, bathing, or showering with contaminated water can potentially cause serious health issues and illnesses such as cancer, liver and/or kidney damage, central nervous system damage, cognitive impairment, learning disabilities and asthma. Health effects after exposure to pollutants can develop shortly after or during exposure or manifest in the future.
What are the potential sources of soil contamination?
The sources of soil contamination are often the same sources as of air and water contamination. Primary sources of soil contamination are manufacturing facilities, landfills, junkyards, illegal dumping, wood treatment facilities, pharmaceutical manufacturing, industrial farms, smelters, coal and gas fired powerhouses diesel exhaust, fertilizers, weed killers, pesticides (which include chemicals used as insecticides,
herbicides, fungicides, rodent poisons and some other types of poisons), incinerators, compressor stations.
What pollutants can contaminate soil?
Pollutants such as lead, mercury, arsenic, dioxin, benzene, toluene, xylene, hexavalent chromium, fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) can be found in soil.
What health effects are connected with exposure to contaminated soil?
Soil contamination can present a greater health threat to children who unknowingly play on ground and come in direct contact with toxins. Contaminants in soil can also attach to the shoes and boots and tracked into the home or any an indoor environment causing further contamination. Contaminated soil can be re-suspended in the air from ground disturbances such as vehicle traffic, construction work, or wind. Once re-suspended, these substances can be inhaled or ingested, and may even contaminate indoor living and work spaces. Soil contaminants may also leach down through the soil into groundwater and adversely impact drinking (potable) water supplies.
How can we help you?
Our mission is to get you justice and compensation if you and/or your family are experiencing health problems stemming from environmental contamination or toxic exposure, or if your home and property have become impacted by pollutants.
Call us for a free consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means we only get paid if we are able to obtain money damages for you. If you believe you have been injured as a result of environmental or toxic exposure call our firm immediately, so that we can help you.