Why are Toxic Exposure Cases important?
Toxic exposure cases help empower employees to fight for their right to be protected, satisfactorily informed, and to stay safe. They also bring awareness to challenge and higher the expectations of companies who are not serving their employees justly.
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What is Chlorpyrifos?
Chlorpyrifos was introduced to the market by Dow Chemical in 1965, and over the years has become a widely-used pesticide, utilized on a variety of crops, including corn, soybeans, broccoli, and apples. The chemical is also used in the maintenance of golf courses, and in other non-agricultural settings.
Chlorpyrifos was originally invented as an alternative to DDT, and works by attacking insects’ nervous systems. With acute exposure, some farmers and farm workers have reported experiencing nausea, dizziness, and confusion. Due to potential health hazards, the EPA moved to phase out all residential uses of chlorpyrifos in 2000, but left the agricultural applications as they were.
Is Chlorpyrifos Toxic?
In 2000 when the residential ban of chlorpyrifos use went into effect in 2000, a team of Columbia University researchers was starting a study on childhood development related to household chlorpyrifos exposure during pregnancy. The researchers found that when children were exposed to the chemical in the womb, they tended to be smaller, had slower reflexes, and showed higher risks of developmental disorders.
Peer-reviewed publications subsequently provided evidence for the neurodevelopmental toxicity of chlorpyrifos, claims that Dow Chemical denies. But while scientific studies can show dangerous effects of pesticides, it is still difficult to regulate their use.
The EPA, for example, has been slow to make blanket bans and almost always trails some international environmental regulatory bodies in declaring certain chemicals dangerous or toxic. From 2011 to 2016 the EPA revised its human health risk assessment three times and changed their decision on banning chlorpyrifos three times. Most recently in 2021, the EPA decided to ban the chemical for use in food products.
The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) aim to protect Americans from toxic products, but due to contradictory studies and pressure from Agribusiness lobby groups, many potentially toxic chemicals are still used.
Who is at risk of Chlorpyrifos Exposure?
Farm workers and their families are particularly vulnerable to toxic agrichemical exposure, and are often directly exposed to high doses of toxic pesticides through inhalation while spraying different chemicals on crops. Personal protective equipment is not always provided by employers, making matters worse.
In 2002, EPA made a number of changes to the required safety measures for those applying the pesticide, which included:
- Use of buffer zones to protect water quality, fish and wildlife
- Reductions in application rates per season on a variety of crops
- Increase in amount of personal protective equipment required to lower the toxic exposure risks to agricultural workers
ABOUT THE LYON FIRM
Joseph Lyon has 17 years of experience representing individuals in complex litigation matters. He has represented individuals in every state against many of the largest companies in the world.
The Firm focuses on single-event civil cases and class actions involving corporate neglect & fraud, toxic exposure, product defects & recalls, medical malpractice, and invasion of privacy.
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The Firm offers contingency fees, advancing all costs of the litigation, and accepting the full financial risk, allowing our clients full access to the legal system while reducing the financial stress while they focus on their healthcare and financial needs.
Questions about Chlorpyrifos Exposure
Individual lawsuits have been filed on behalf of minors who were exposed to chlorpyrifos during gestation and childhood.
Chlorpyrifos litigation is in its early stages, with relatively few lawsuits filed, though the number of plaintiffs claiming damages could swell in the coming years.
The Lyon Firm is currently reviewing a wide range of toxic exposure claims. If you have been diagnosed with cancer or another condition and have a history of pesticide exposure, contact Joe Lyon to discuss your case. The Lyon Firm offers free and confidential consultations.
Plaintiffs can consider filing toxic exposure lawsuits and product liability claims against the manufacturers and distributors of toxic industrial or household products. Plaintiffs are alleging that herbicide manufacturers sold hazardous products and failed to warn the end user about the inherent dangers of their products.
Class Action Chlorpyrifos lawsuits are currently being filed on behalf of plaintiffs. The Lyon Firm accepts cases on a contingency fee basis, and offers free case evaluations. A settlement could help you pay for medical costs, lost wages, and compensate for your pain and suffering. Pursuing a toxic exposure claim can also push chemical manufacturers to fully test their products before releasing them to the public.
Current chlorpyrifos lawsuits, filed in California, have been filed by parents on behalf of their children to recover damages related to alleged exposure to chlorpyrifos-containing pesticide products during gestation and infancy.
The defendants include manufacturers of chlorpyrifos, entities that applied chlorpyrifos to fields, and entities that managed the public water systems.
Plaintiffs claim their children were exposed in contaminated water systems and through some parents’ work as field hands or pesticide applicators. The plaintiffs allege the chemical causes developmental delays, ADHD, seizures, autism, vision problems, oppositional defiant disorder and anxiety.
The plaintiffs are seeking to recover past and future medical costs, pain and suffering damages, loss of future earning capacity damages, loss of parental consortium and punitive damages. Some of the plaintiffs are also seeking to recover remediation costs for mitigating the presence of toxic chlorpyrifos on their land or water source.
Litigation is now limited to agricultural areas, and attorneys argue there is no safe level of exposure, especially for children.
Potential toxic agricultural exposure includes many areas of historically heavy use throughout the country, including California, Oregon, Washington, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and the East Coast states from Florida through New York.
Both farm workers, their children and rural communities are at risk. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies several herbicides for “restricted use,” which means only licensed applicators can legally use the chemical. But regardless of who initially uses the herbicide, every individual in the vicinity may be at risk of toxic exposure.
In 1997, the EPA warned that toxic exposure was possible during the mixing, loading, and application of the herbicide, as well as during the post-application process. The agency said that despite the herbicide not being registered for residential use, exposure is possible for individuals who live near farms using the chemical.
Many countries have banned the chemical due to its acute pulmonary and cutaneous toxicity, and others have established restrictions.
The EPA in 2021 finally banned the chemical for use in food products. The Obama administration tried to ban chlorpyrifos after scientific studies showed the pesticide had the potential to damage brain development in children in 2015 but the EPA reversed that action in 2017. Hawaii banned chlorpyrifos in 2018 and other states are considering similar actions.
Lorsban has been banned for household use but can be used by farmers in fruit and vegetable crops. In 2016, more than 640,000 acres of agricultural land was treated with chlorpyrifos in California alone.
According to some farmers, pesticides like chlorpyrifos are necessary to control insect pests though environmental groups argue that there are safer alternatives.
Since its registration in 1965, chlorpyrifos has been reviewed by EPA. For tolerance reassessment and reregistration, the agency has to decide whether or not chlorpyrifos products remain safe for use. In 2000, the EPA elected to eliminate, phase out, and modify certain uses, including:
- Eliminating most homeowner uses, except ant and roach baits in child resistant packaging
- Phasing out termiticide use
- Discontinuing all uses of chlorpyrifos on tomatoes
- Restricting use on apples to pre-bloom and dormant application
The largest agricultural market for chlorpyrifos is corn, followed by soybeans, fruit and nut trees, Brussels sprouts, cranberries, broccoli, and cauliflower.
Non-agricultural uses may include golf courses, sod farms, green houses, and on wood treatments on utility poles and fence posts. The chemical is also used in roach and ant bait stations in child resistant packaging.
People can be exposed to pesticides by ingesting them, inhaling them, or getting them on the skin. Exposure is likely in farm settings or at the home if well water has been contaminated.
Lorsban® and Dursban® are two widely recognized trade names for chlorpyrifos from Corteva™ Agriscience (the agricultural division of the 2017 Dow\DuPont merger).
Corteva, Inc. announced it will stop selling the pesticide, but other brands may be available, including:
- Bolton insecticide
- Detmol UA
- Dowco 179
Chlorpyrifos affects the nervous system of people the same way it affects the target pest. Symptoms can last for days or even weeks. Exposure to small amounts can cause a headache, nausea, and dizziness. More serious exposure can lead to vomiting, abdominal muscle cramps, muscle twitching, tremors and weakness, and blurred vision.
A toxic tort is a specific type of personal injury that occurs as a result of the exposure to toxic materials or chemicals. Many people are unknowingly exposed to dangerous substances at their work place and only discover the past exposure after they have been diagnosed with a serious condition associated with the toxic material.
Many people are familiar with the term “class action.” A class action lawsuit is appropriate where the claims are all the same and can be handled in one case without a party being prejudiced. Since most toxic tort cases involve different issues related to the amount of exposure, the types of injuries being claimed, and the manner of which those damages were caused, class action treatment is usually not appropriate in toxic tort cases.
However, toxic tort cases often involve many similarities related to the liability and general causation questions, and consolidation can be effective for both parties through a mass tort program. A “mass tort” is similar to a class action in that there are procedural steps to consolidate similar claims before one Court to more efficiently litigate the case.
Typically, these cases are consolidated for the purposed of pre-trial discovery, but the case is not joined for a trial. Through pre-trial consolidation the Courts can avoid inconsistent rulings and have a more manageable discovery process.
In the last ten years, the most famous types of toxic exposure cases involve property damage claims due to oil spills. Most notably, the BP Spill in the Gulf of Mexico damaged the environment and cost local business owners billions of dollars due to the impact on the local economy. A toxic tort lawyer can help to restore the environment and those small business losses through a settlement.
Whether the damages are financial or a combination of financial and human losses suffered due to a personal injury, toxic tort litigation exists to compensate those individuals and their families who have been harmed through no fault of their own.
Often people are unknowingly exposed to a dangerous substance and only discover the exposure once they have been diagnosed with a serious illness associated with the toxic material. While the government often levies fines when companies violate certain regulations, the civil justice system solely provide for the families human losses, property damage, or business losses.