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Pittsburgh Toxic Chemical Exposure Lawyers

In the United States, people expect to be able to live safely in their homes and minimize risks to their health during their daily lives. Unfortunately, many people are affected by issues that are outside of their control, including toxic substances in the environment. This is a significant issue for people in Allegheny County and Western Pennsylvania. Due to the large number of steel mills and other industrial facilities in the area, multiple types of toxic chemicals have been released into the watershed, increasing the risks of cancer for area residents. Those who have contracted cancer or other conditions that may have been caused by exposure to toxic substances will need to determine their options for pursuing compensation from the companies that were responsible.

Carcinogenic Chemicals in the Pittsburgh Water Supply

The state of Pennsylvania has the third-highest rate of cancer in the United States. Around half of Pennsylvania's residents will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetimes, and around 20 percent of Pennsylvanians will die of cancer. Allegheny County has even higher rates of cancer than the rest of the state, especially for forms of cancer such as lung cancer, breast cancer, bladder cancer, colon cancer, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.


Pittsburgh personal injury lawyerThere are numerous steel mills, factories, and other industrial plants in the area surrounding Pittsburgh. These plants work with a variety of dangerous chemicals. Unfortunately, this means that toxic chemical exposure may affect people, including workers who handle these chemicals or people in the surrounding communities who absorb harmful substances that are in the air, soil, or water supply. Autoimmune diseases are some of the most serious conditions that can be caused by toxic chemicals, and those who have suffered harm due to harmful chemicals in the environment may be able to take legal action to recover compensation.

What Are Autoimmune Diseases?

Autoimmune diseases are a type of chronic illness in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells, tissues, and organs. There are multiple different types of autoimmune diseases, and some conditions that have been linked to the toxic chemicals used in industrial plants include:

  • Thyroid disorders - When the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, this can cause multiple different types of health issues. Graves' disease occurs when the thyroid gland is stimulated into releasing excess hormones into the bloodstream, and Hashimoto's thyroiditis impairs the function of the thyroid gland, resulting in low levels of thyroid hormone. These conditions may be caused by exposure to heavy metals, such as lead, mercury, or arsenic.


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. 


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.


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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