A new Agricultural Health Study (AHS) study suggests that there is a definitive link between exposure to pesticides and an increased risk of thyroid cancer. Metalaxyl and lindane in these pesticides have shown thyroid-disrupting properties, including cancer.
While most people understand that they are exposed to toxic substances from time to time, they also know that their exposure is usually limited to brief bursts of time, reducing the likelihood of any negative effects. In the agricultural field, however, pesticides are commonly used, and workers are frequently exposed to them. Even outside of the agricultural industry, longer exposure can occur and has an increased risk of cancer.
Toxic tort law relates specifically to damages and injuries caused by exposure to toxic chemicals and substances, like pesticides. Toxic tort lawsuits can be filed by anyone who has suffered an injury, but they usually occur when there are mass exposures. Agricultural workers, for example, may be able to group together as a class and file a toxic tort claim.
To be successful, the person filing the lawsuit must prove:
The biggest problem that victims may have is linking their injuries to exposure to the specific pesticide. Since these injuries or illnesses can take years to develop and show symptoms, the victim may not even know if the pesticide is precisely what caused their cancer to form.
Due to these unique challenges, toxic tort law relies heavily on medical records and studies that link pesticides and cancer. There are many ways a person could become exposed to pesticide, making it difficult to determine exactly who is at fault.
To determine fault after a person has been diagnosed with cancer, there will need to be a thorough investigation. Since the cancer could have been developing for many years, the victim may not even recall where or how they could have been exposed to a toxic chemical.
When a victim thinks back, they may want to consider any of the following symptoms that might help determine a timeline for when their exposure occurred:
Whenever a person experiences any of the symptoms and has been around toxic chemicals, like pesticides, they should immediately remove themselves from the situation and seek medical attention. Extended exposure to these chemicals can be hazardous to a person’s health and have lifelong consequences.
When someone experiences these symptoms and has been exposed to toxic chemicals, they may not realize the damage that has been done. If a person develops cancer many years later, it can be extremely difficult to show which company manufactured the pesticide and when and for how long. This makes proving fault an uphill battle, but not an impossible one.
Besides workers, residents near pesticide manufacturers may also experience adverse symptoms. Companies have been known to dispose of chemical waste inappropriately, which has resulted in entire communities being exposed to hazardous chemicals, some developing cancer. In communities where there are many manufacturers, however, it can be difficult to know exactly which company is at fault.
Due to these unknowns, some victims think they do not have a case. However, the key is that individuals do not have to have all of the answers before they file a lawsuit. That is why it is helpful to speak to a lawyer.
The list of potential defendants in a toxic tort lawsuit resulting from pesticide exposure might include:
When filing a lawsuit, it is important to move quickly. Every state has a time limit for how long after an injury occurs when a victim can file a lawsuit. If a victim has not developed or noticed any symptoms until several years after their exposure to toxic pesticides, they may be quickly running up against the clock.
It will take time for a legal team to investigate and determine how and when the victim was exposed to toxic pesticides. They may even need to consult with medical and chemical experts to help them understand the details of what occurred.
Exposure to toxic chemicals and substances can have lasting effects on your body. It can cause you to suffer serious medical issues, and it may impact your ability to go about your daily routine. That is why it is vital that any victim seeks medical attention immediately and then speaks with an experienced lawyer. Speak to one of our Delaware toxic tort lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. today for help with your potential case. Call 302-656-5445 or complete an online form for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.