Chemical Exposure on the Job in Dallas? Call (214) 231-0544
Are you currently suffering the negative health effects of chemical exposure? You may be entitled to compensation for the financial AND emotional losses you have suffered as a result of your condition. However, pursuing legal action is far from simple. There are few injury claims more complex and difficult to litigate than chemical exposure claims. If you want the best outcome, you should consult with the experienced Dallas chemical exposure attorneys at Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP.
Our Texas-based law firm has focused exclusively on personal injury claims since 1987. With decades of experience under our belts, we have what it takes to get you the means for recovery. To get started on building a better tomorrow, call us today at (214) 231-0544 or (800) 738-4046. We can answer your questions in a free, comprehensive consultation. Why wait? Contact our office today.
Types of Dangerous Chemicals
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services lists a large number of hazardous chemical categories. Many of these cause slightly different toxidromes – a group of symptoms that indicate poisoning:
- Anticholinergic agents (anticholinergic toxidrome)
- Blister agents/vesicants (topical toxidrome)
- Blood/systemic agents (knockdown toxidrome)
- Caustics/acids (topical/inhalation/ingestion toxidrome)
- Choking/lung/pulmonary agents (inhalation toxidrome)
- Convulsants (convulsant toxidrome)
- Long-acting anticoagulants (anticoagulants toxidrome)
- Opioids (opioid toxidrome)
- Organophosphorus pesticides and nerve agents (pesticide syndrome, also called cholinergic or nerve agent toxidrome)
- Organic solvents (acute exposure to solvents, anesthetics, or sedatives (SAS) toxidrome)
- Riot control agents/tear gas
- Toxic alcohols
- Vomiting agents
Of course, victim rarely have full knowledge of which chemical caused their illness. In the examples above, the more concrete evidence to support the toxicity of the chemical, the more proof there is that exposure caused the victim’s illness or injury. Examples of hazardous chemicals you may have encountered on the job are:
- Cleaning chemicals
- Gas cylinders
- Refrigerant gases
- Diesel fuel
- Liquefied petroleum gas
- Welding fumes
- Flammable liquids
As you can see, exposure is a danger in a wide variety of occupations. According to a study published in the US National Library of Medicine, technicians, operators, and agricultural workers are most likely to be exposed to chemical and biological hazards. If you work in any of these fields, and are suffering from symptoms that don’t appear to be caused by illness or other injury, you may be suffering from toxic exposure.
VOCs in Paint
Everyone is familiar with the pungent odor associated with common paint. However, that smell is not all you should be concerned with. Volatile organic compounds or VOCs are carbon-containing compounds that vaporize into the air and react with other naturally occurring elements to create ozone. VOCs are known to cause breathing problems and have been linked to cancer as well as kidney and liver damage. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, headache, burning or watering eyes, and nausea.
Phthalates can be found in many products that contain fragrances. But because most fragrances are considered proprietary, manufacturers are not required to list all of the ingredients, so you won’t see phthalates on most labels. Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors, which means that they can contribute to low sperm count in males. They are also considered to be a contributing factor in asthma and other respiratory disorders. These toxins are most often introduced to the body through inhalation but can also enter through skin contact. Symptoms include irritation of the eyes, dizziness, nausea, pain, numbness, weakness, exhaustion, and spasms in the arms and legs.
Chlorine can be found in a variety of cleaning products with both residential and commercial applications, as well as being used in swimming pool maintenance. The fumes can cause respiratory reactions from a mild discomfort and cough to acute respiratory distress. Eye and nose irritation is also common. Other indications of dangerous chlorine concentration are blurred vision, chest tightness, fluid in the lungs, nausea, and vomiting as well as burning pain, redness, and blisters on the skin from exposure.
Ammonia is one of the most common chemicals produced in the United States. It can be found in refrigerant gas; as a fertilizer in agriculture; in the manufacture of plastics, fabrics, pesticides, and dye; and in many household and industrial cleaners. Ammonia can enter the body through inhalation, ingestion, or as a result of skin contact. It reacts with water to form ammonium hydroxide, which is a very corrosive chemical that damages cells on contact. Contact with lower concentrations of ammonia can cause coughing as well as nose, eye, and throat irritation. Higher concentrations can result in burning of eyes, nose, throat, and respiratory tract. Long-term damage can include blindness, lung damage, and death.
Sodium hydroxide is commonly known as lye and is found in oven cleaners and drain openers. Lye is also used in many industries, from textile production to plastics. This chemical is extremely corrosive and should never come in contact with the skin. Inhaling sodium hydroxide can cause mild to serious effects depending on the amount. Minor inhalation will result in sneezing, sore throat, or a runny nose. Inhaling a larger quantity can result in severe inflammation of the lungs, which can be life-threatening. If swallowed, lye can result in severe burns to the mouth, throat, and stomach. Additional symptoms of ingestion include bleeding, vomiting, or diarrhea. A drop in blood pressure can also occur. It is also important to remember that some of these symptoms do not present until several days after exposure. Direct contact with the eyes can result in damage to vision or even blindness. And anyone who has existing eye or breathing issues could be more susceptible to long-term damage or injury from exposure to sodium hydroxide.
If you think you are suffering from chemical exposure, it is best to seek treatment from a medical professional, and to document your treatment for the purpose of your legal case.
Chemical Exposure Is Hard to Prove
What makes chemical exposure claims so hard to litigate is the fact that exposure, unlike more obvious and violent accidents, often works slowly and quietly. Symptoms may not manifest themselves until years, or even decades down the line, and by that time it may be extremely difficult to connect the resultant illness to the exposure.
To make matters more difficult, chemical exposure can occur at home, at work, and on virtually any premises. It may arise from sources ranging from everyday cleaning products to chemical spills.
You may choose to pursue your chemical exposure claim without an attorney, but unless you have legal expertise, chances are you will not fare well. This is a matter for those with plenty of direct experience in the field of personal injury law.
Signs of Chemical Exposure
The signs of chemical exposure vary depending on the chemical, but most types of chemical exposure share some of the following symptoms (World Health Organization):
- Respiratory/breathing: Toxins breathed in tend to irritate the lungs, throat, and entire respiratory system. Symptoms can include coughing, chest tightness, respiratory depression, or even respiratory failure.
- Head pain: One of the first symptoms sufferers often feel is a headache or migraine, which can also lead to nausea.
- Balance/focus: Sufferers may have faults in both their mental ability to focus or concentrate, and their physical coordination. Symptoms include dizziness, anxiety, restlessness, confusion, and even delusions and hallucinations.
- Burning/irritation: Chemicals can burn both the eyes and skin. Symptoms include eye pain, skin redness and blisters, stinging eye sensation, eye redness, and itching of the eyes and skin.
While these signs and symptoms are by no means an exhaustive list, they can help you identify whether you may have been exposed to a toxic chemical.
How We Can Help Establish Your Chemical Exposure Claim
The resourceful lawyers at Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP can help you strengthen your claim by establishing the following key components:
- You were exposed to a hazardous chemical;
- The exposure could’ve been prevented if it weren’t for the negligence of another party;
- The illness or injury you are currently suffering is connected to the exposure.
If you hire us as your legal representatives, we will use the full scope of our skills and resources to make your case a winning one. Not only does our firm have a legal team comprised of effective and aggressive negotiators and trial attorneys, we also have an extensive network of professionals in a wide variety of fields at our disposal. We can arrange for expert witnesses to prove that your injuries were caused by chemical exposure and that you are entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Contact Us at (800) 738-4046 Today
The Dallas personal injury lawyers at Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP are experienced in handling injuries and illnesses that result from chemical accidents. Contact us today so our attorneys can ensure that you receive the maximum compensation possible for your losses. You may be entitled to millions of dollars in damages.