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Pittsburgh Personal Injury LawyerThere are a wide variety of toxic substances that can cause people to suffer serious illnesses or other health issues. Americans expect to be protected against exposure to these substances, ensuring that they can live their lives safely. However, there are some cases where manufacturers claim that chemicals are safe to use when these substances are actually harmful. Herbicides and pesticides are a common example of these types of dangerous chemicals, and they are often sprayed on crops in large quantities and used in other ways that can affect workers or people in nearby communities. RoundUp, one of the most commonly-used herbicides, may potentially cause serious harm to those who have experienced high levels of exposure, and victims may be able to take legal action against the manufacturer to address these issues.

Potential Health Risks of RoundUp

The active chemical in RoundUp is known as glyphosate, and it inhibits plant growth. While the manufacturer of RoundUp has claimed that this chemical is safe and non-toxic to humans, studies have found that extended exposure to glyphosate may lead to a number of health issues, including:

  • Cancer - The International Agency for Research on Cancer has categorized glyphosate as a probable carcinogen for humans. RoundUp has been linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which affects the body’s immune system. 

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pittsburgh-toxic-tort-lawyer.jpgPittsburgh consistently ranks as one of the most polluted areas in the United States. A study performed by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found that Allegheny County is in the top 2 percent of counties in the U.S. where residents are at risk of cancer from air pollution. The Pittsburgh area is home to prominent companies in the steel industry, as well as multiple other types of industrial plants. With so many facilities working with toxic chemicals, emissions of these dangerous substances can significantly affect the health of the region’s residents. People who have been affected by these dangerous chemicals may be able to take legal action against companies that have violated environmental regulations through toxic torts.

Industrial Facilities Responsible for Toxic Chemical Emissions

PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center has identified the top sources of air pollution in Allegheny County:

  1. ATI Flat Rolled Products - This plant in Brackenridge has been responsible for more chromium emissions than all other facilities in Allegheny County combined. Chromium is a cancer-causing substance that can also cause damage to the respiratory and reproductive systems. The facility has also been responsible for emissions of lead, nickel, cobalt, manganese, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter.

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Pittsburgh Toxic Tort AttorneyFirefighters and others who work around fires may be exposed to toxic chemicals due to the use of aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF). This type of firefighting foam may be used to control fires involving substances such as oil, gasoline, or jet fuel, and it can smother flames and cut off their oxygen supply. Many types of AFFF contain chemicals known as PFAS that have been linked with multiple types of serious health issues. Because this issue is an ongoing concern, numerous states have passed laws that limit the use of AFFF and address health concerns related to PFAS.

Recent Changes to State Laws Related to AFFF and PFAS

PFAS (per- and poly-fluoroalkyls) are known as “forever chemicals” that do not break down over time. They can accumulate in the environment, leading to health issues that affect people who are exposed due to chemicals in water or soil. The use of firefighting foam may result in injuries to firefighters, people who work at airports or military bases where oil or jet fuel fires need to be controlled, or people who live near areas where these chemicals may accumulate in the environment. 

To address ongoing concerns about PFAS, several states have passed laws in recent years that address the use of AFFF. These states include:

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Pittsburgh Personal Injury LawyerWorking in an industrial setting can be dangerous. Due to the presence of large, fast-moving machinery, materials heated to extremely high temperatures, and a variety of other dangers, steel mill workers may be at risk of serious injuries in workplace accidents. However, even when the proper safety procedures are followed to prevent these types of accidents, workers may also be at risk of harm due to exposure to toxic substances. Asbestos is one substance that continues to affect workers in steel mills and similar settings, and those who have been exposed to this substance may contract a dangerous form of cancer known as mesothelioma.

Causes of Asbestos Exposure in Steel Mills

For much of the 20th century, asbestos was a widely-used substance. Because it provides good insulation against heat and fire, it was often used in industrial settings, as well as building materials and other products. Once the dangers of asbestos became well-known, it stopped being used in many products. However, facilities that were built before these changes were made may still contain asbestos, putting workers at risk of harm.

There are multiple sources of potential asbestos exposure in steel mills. Some facilities may contain construction materials that were manufactured using asbestos, including cement and floor or ceiling tiles. Asbestos may have been used as insulation for furnaces, boilers, or pipes. A number of machine parts may have contained asbestos, including brake pads on cranes or other pieces of equipment, as well as valves, pumps, and other machine parts. Any products containing asbestos may put workers at risk of exposure, and a person may inhale asbestos fibers in the air or absorb them through their skin. A person’s family members may also be exposed to asbestos fibers that accumulate on their clothing.

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Wexford Personal Injury LawyerIndustrial workers face a number of risks on a daily basis. When working around large, heavy equipment, the possibility of injuries is ever-present, and workers follow multiple safety practices to prevent accidents. However, in addition to the possibility of injuries in workplace accidents, workers at steel mills and similar facilities may also suffer harm after being exposed to toxic chemicals. These exposures may occur because of chemical spills, but in many cases, ongoing exposure over multiple months or years of work can lead to significant health issues. Workers who have been affected by toxic chemicals will need to understand their legal options and determine whether they can receive compensation for their injuries.

Dangerous Chemicals That May Cause Harm to Workers in Steel Mills

Those who work in the metal production industry deal with hazardous chemicals and substances on a regular basis. Some chemicals that may cause workers to suffer injuries include:

  • Arsenic - Compounds containing this substance may be used in steel production, potentially exposing workers to health risks. Inorganic arsenic compounds are carcinogenic, and they may lead to lung cancer, bladder cancer, skin cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, or prostate cancer. Exposure to low levels of arsenic over time can lead to issues such as damage to the liver and kidneys, decreased red and white blood cells, and an increased risk of infections.

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