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What Should I Know About Delaware’s Clean Water Bill?

Environmental advocates and state residents are one step closer to receiving improved waterways after the Delaware House unanimously passed the Clean Water for Delaware Act. Some of the main components of the proposed legislation include rebuilding Delaware’s drinking water and wastewater infrastructures, preventing flooding, avoiding water contamination, and a $50 million investment in a Clean Water Trust. The Clean Water Trust would increase funding to counter water pollution to better serve residents, especially those who reside in low-income areas. Additionally, the proposed bill contains water reports, urgent projects, and plans to address pollution in the state. Future projects would be regulated by a Clean Water Trust Oversight Committee.

Delaware waterways are a vital resource and drive the economy as well, including fishing and boating industries. According to state officials, more than 377 bodies of water in Delaware are in dire need of repair because of pollution from bacteria, toxins, and other harmful contaminations. Additionally, more than 100 miles of waterways have fish consumption advisories because of pesticides and other chemicals. Many state residents are eager to have essential waterways cleaned and maintained.

Individuals who are suffering from an illness they believe was caused by exposure to contaminated water should reach out to an experienced toxic tort lawyer for assistance.

What are the Types of Water Contamination?

In order to prevent water contamination, one must understand the types. Water is a universal solvent, meaning that water can quickly dissolve substances, which makes it vulnerable to contaminants from farms, towns, and factories. Some common types of water contamination include the following:

Agricultural: The agricultural industry is the top consumer of global freshwater resources, which leads to significant contamination. When it rains, fertilizers, animal waste, pesticides, and other toxins can flow into waterways. Nutrient pollution, which is caused by nitrogen and phosphorus, is the top threat to waterways. It can cause dangerous algae blooms.

Sewage and wastewater: Showers, toilets, sinks, and sewage produce forms of wastewater. Stormwater runoff can leak into water supplies as well. Some negligent companies will discard industrial waste into water sources.

Oil pollution: Oil and gas from vehicles and large oil spills can contaminate water sources also. Tankers, both illegally and legally, spill contaminants.

Radioactive substances: Nuclear power plants, uranium mining, and hospitals, and other entities that use radioactive materials contribute to water contamination. Radioactive waste can last for thousands of years, which further contributes to the problem.

All of these forms of water contamination are harmful, which is why advocates and organizations, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), enforce regulations to keep drinking water and other related sources safe.

What are the Signs of Contaminated Drinking Water?

It may be hard to detect water contamination, and one of the best ways to determine if drinking water is affected is using a test. A local water purification company will be able to perform a water test to establish if it is safe. The test will also help a homeowner know how to fix the problem. Water filters and softeners can lessen the risk of water contamination.

Some signs that tap water is unsafe include the following:

Cloudiness: Typically, water should be clear. Cloudiness may not be harmful in certain circumstances, but it reveals that there are pathogens or chemicals.

Buildup: Some homeowners may discover that their hands feel slimy after washing their hands with soap and water. Substances can leave deposits on the skin, which can feel slime-like.

Color: Yellow, brown, orange, blue, or green water can be unsafe. Yellow water may indicate that there is a cancer-causing agent or a sign of buildup of lead, copper, or iron. Orange and brown water might contain too much iron, lead, or rust. Green or blue water could be signs of copper and corroded pipes.

Smell: If the water smells like bleach, there could be too much chlorine. Chlorine is added to water supplies to eliminate bacteria and toxins, but when it’s mixed with other compounds, it can be harmful. A fish-like or sulfur smell could be a sign of water contamination as well.

Taste: A metallic taste could be a sign of rusty pipes. In some cases, it could indicate a low pH level.

What are the Effects of Contaminated Water?

Health effects may not show up immediately. For this reason, people should regularly inspect and make sure their water supply is safe. Generally, health-related signs of waterborne illnesses include these issues:

  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Cramps
  • Dehydration
  • Developmental problems
  • Pregnancy issues
  • Death

It is important to understand that contamination can come from different areas in the home. One might unknowingly bathe in contaminated water, too.

What is a Toxic Tort?

When a person is harmed by water contaminants, chemicals, or another toxin, they may be eligible to pursue a toxic tort claim. A toxic tort is a type of personal injury claim, and the plaintiff has the burden of proof that another negligent party caused their injury or illness. Showing that water contamination led to one’s illness is often challenging because symptoms may not develop right away.

A toxic tort lawyer will help their client with their case. A lawyer will investigate the circumstances and file a state or federal claim if necessary. A large and powerful corporation, manufacturer, distributor, or another entity may be responsible for water contamination, especially if it involves industrial waste or a similar scenario. However, a dedicated and experienced lawyer will be able to collect evidence, strengthen a claim, and fight for their client’s rights. As soon as one begins to suspect that contaminated water is directly causing their injury or illness, they should seek legal representation, since there are time limits to file a claim.

Wilmington Toxic Tort Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Help Clients Affected by Water Contamination

The Delaware House passing the Clean Water for Delaware Act is a step in the right direction; however, residents are still being affected by contaminated water. If you believe you are sick because of water contamination, an experienced Wilmington toxic tort lawyer at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. can help you with your case. Our legal team understands the dangerous effects of water contamination, and we are ready to help. Complete our online form or call us at 302-656-5445 for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.

New Study Shows Environmental Chemicals in Pregnant Women and Babies

A new study at the University of California, San Francisco, published in Environmental Science & Technology, identified a total of 109 chemicals in blood samples of 30 pregnant women and their umbilical cords. Fifty-five of the chemicals were identified as recognizable toxins that had never been detected in humans before, while another 42 compounds were unable to be identified by researchers. The remaining chemicals are toxins that are used in a variety of consumer products and industrial applications.

While exposure to chemicals in products and the environment is not a new worry for pregnant mothers, the concern is profound. Prenatal exposure to dangerous chemicals, like pesticides, heavy metals, and persistent organic pollutants, can be transferred to the baby in utero. This can cause the developing fetus to experience birth defects, learning disabilities, and other health consequences.

Methods Used in the New Study

Before the UCFS study, chemical biomonitoring methods were able to identify a few hundred chemicals out of more than 8,000 chemical substances made and imported into the United States. The study greatly improved detection proficiencies by employing new technology to cross-reference compounds detected with a much more comprehensive list of industrial chemicals.

The new technology uses non-target data from high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) to identify manmade chemicals in the blood samples. The HRMS data was examined along with target data available in a database of 3,500 high-production volume chemicals.

Tests detected the presence and concentration of chemicals in maternal and umbilical cord blood samples collected from the participants. Researchers also compared chemical identifiers found in the blood to pinpoint similar structures available for comparison in the industrial chemical database.

Chemicals Found in the Study

The study detected chemicals that include pesticides, plasticizers, pharmaceuticals, flame retardants, and compounds used in other consumer products, including cosmetics. Per -and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were found in the samples. In the study, 109 chemicals were found in the mothers’ blood and the blood supplies being transferred to their babies. Fifty-five of the chemicals that were identifiable were never previously reported in humans. It is unlikely that the presence of these chemicals is new, researchers believe the expanded database of the compounds simply made detection possible.

However, another 42 chemical compounds lack enough information for researchers to go on. Without useful information in the database, the researchers were unable to classify these chemicals, how they are used, or what type of exposure caused them to be found in the participants’ blood.

How Do Pesticides and Other Chemicals Affect Babies?

Numerous studies link toxic chemical exposure in the womb or in early childhood to developmental delays, diseases, and other health issues. Early pregnancy is a particularly vulnerable time for a dangerous exposure, which can inhibit proper prenatal development. Birth defects and low birth weight can often be blamed on exposure to environmental pollutants or other dangerous contaminants. For example, a 2020 study posted in the Environmental Health journal indicates that exposure to pesticides in the first few weeks of pregnancy have been linked to an increased risk of holoprosencephaly, which is a rare disorder that affects fetal brain development.

A study at the University of California, Santa Barbara also shows that pregnant women who live near farms have an increased risk of having a baby with birth defects and certain cancers, such as acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Household pesticides are also shown to increase the risk of a child eventually developing kidney cancer or a brain tumor. Pesticide exposure is also linked to children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Some experts have looked into whether chemical exposure continues from one generation to the next. A baby who was exposed to dangerous chemicals before birth may experience developmental issues in the womb or during childhood. The child may experience delays or problems during puberty or grow up to have reproductive issues as an adult.

Why is This Study Important?

Many studies reveal the dangers of exposure to toxic chemicals in the womb, and some researchers have looked into whether the detriment continues from one generation to the next. A baby who had been exposed to dangerous chemicals before birth may experience developmental issues in the womb or during childhood. That child may experience delays or problems during puberty or grow up to have reproductive issues as an adult.

The next logical step is to wonder if the chemical exposure will affect the next generation. Research has introduced the idea that such exposure may disturb epigenetic processes that determine normal cell development and function. These epigenetic issues may have an effect on future generations.

Researchers at the UCSF suggest that industries must be made to report chemicals and their uses in order to give scientists a reliable database for detecting and reporting on how these chemicals show up in humans. Currently, only less than one-third of chemicals used in consumer products and industrial applications are listed with classifiable chemical uses. Researchers believe such chemical classification would enable necessary assessment of new chemicals to determine their dangers to human health. Further, the study suggests that scientists and regulators should endeavor to identify and classify these chemicals, while government and private investors should support technologies to make this possible.

If one believes they are experiencing adverse side effects from chemical exposure, they are encouraged to speak to a lawyer about filing an environmental toxic tort claim. This type of claim can be complex, but a knowledgeable lawyer can help.

Wilmington Toxic Tort Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Represent Pregnant Women and Babies Harmed by Environmental Contaminants

If you and your baby were exposed to dangerous environmental toxins, you may have a toxic tort case. The Wilmington toxic tort lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. can help you recover damages for any injury or illness you have suffered as a result of your hazardous exposure. Contact us online or call us at 302-656-5445 for a free consultation. Our offices are located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, and we serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.

Are PFAS Commonly Found in Pesticides?

Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are used in countless consumer products, including firefighting foam, non-stick cookware, and carpets. These chemicals are also used in some pesticides. Organizations like the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) are stating that PFAS might present even greater health risks to the public than previously thought. PEER’s report states that PFAS were in a mosquito-control insecticide that was sprayed in Massachusetts, New York, and many other states.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has strict guidelines for these chemicals and has issued Lifetime Health Advisories for them. Their testing shows that PFAS are in the fluorinated containers that contain pesticides. These containers are treated with these chemicals to make them more stable and durable. The EPA plans to conduct risk assessments on PFAS with federal and state agencies and will be posting updates on their websites.

Why are PFAS Dangerous?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that PFAS can lead to thyroid disease, asthma, decreased fertility, liver damage, and cancer. In fact, the CDC’s guidelines for exposure limits are 10 times lower than the EPA’s. Other associated illnesses include kidney and testicular diseases and suppressed immune function.

The reason why PFAS are so dangerous is because most of them do not break down, so they build up in people’s bloodstreams. In some areas, PFAS have been found in drinking water and food. Although research is still underway, it is also thought that PFAS can lead to higher cholesterol levels, lower infant birth weights, and even reduced vaccine responses in children.

Should My Family be Worried About Exposure to PFAS?

Those who are worried about possible exposure can contact their physician for information. Although standard laboratory tests cannot detect exposure of PFAS, there is a test that can show if there are PFAS in a person’s blood. This is not a routine test that doctors automatically give patients, so it would have to be requested. If PFAS are detected, there is no way to predict how they will impact one’s health in future. Getting a yearly physical, including blood work, is one of the best ways to stay healthy. Comparing the numbers from year to year can show if any levels are higher than normal.

People who know that they have been exposed can speak with their health provider about this and can request to be monitored for any conditions or symptoms that could be related to exposure. Expectant mothers may experience high blood pressure or liver and kidney damage after drinking contaminated water with PFAS. Expectant mothers should be especially vigilant about prenatal care.

What is a Toxic Tort Lawsuit?

Individuals who have suffered harm as a result of exposure to dangerous substances may want to seek damages for their injuries and illnesses. Even though chemicals are approved by state and federal agencies and regulated, people can still get hurt.

Dangerous substances can leak into groundwater, be stored incorrectly, or be sprayed before they have been thoroughly tested. These types of cases that involve drugs and chemicals are filed by individuals or groups of people and fall under the category of environmental toxic tort litigation. A plaintiff will allege that exposure to a hazardous substance caused their injury or illness, usually from environmental, home, or occupational exposure.

Industrial workers can be exposed to toxins while on the job, and some of the more familiar cases relate to benzene and asbestos exposure. In other instances, people have been harmed from using toxic products in their homes, like cleaners and pesticides.

What Do I Have to Prove in a Toxic Tort Case?

To prove a toxic tort case, the plaintiff needs to show these elements:

  • The substance in question is harmful.
  • The plaintiff was exposed to it.
  • The substance caused direct harm to the plaintiff.

There could be several parties responsible for the toxic exposure, including the chemical manufacturer, the company that manufacturers the storage containers, and other companies along the supply chain. Defendants in these types of cases can be large corporations, and they mount robust defenses to protect their interests. They will look for and try to create holes in the plaintiff’s case, and they will also try to provide evidence showing that the plaintiff did not prove the three elements listed above.

How is Liability Established in Toxic Tort Lawsuits?

To prove fault in a toxic tort, a plaintiff and their lawyer can focus on different angles. Products liability is when the product is unreasonably dangerous or defective or if the manufacturer did not alert consumers to the safety and health risks. Strict liability is when the defendant’s behavior was especially dangerous. Negligence is a common claim, and plaintiffs have to show that the defendant had an obligation for using ordinary care to the plaintiff, and the defendant’s actions or inactions did not meet that duty. As a result, the plaintiff was injured.

For help with constructing a case, a victim should contact a lawyer as soon as possible.

Wilmington Toxic Tort Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Represent Plaintiffs in Toxic Tort Cases

Injured plaintiffs who are considering filing toxic tort lawsuits should also know that there are statutes of limitations, even though many of the symptoms can take years to develop. If you are experiencing ill effects from exposure to hazardous chemicals, do not hesitate to contact a Wilmington toxic tort lawyer at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Call us at 302-656-5445 or complete our online form for a free consultation today. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.

How can I Reduce Exposure to Toxic Silica Dust?    

Silica, or silicon dioxide, is a natural mineral compound that can be in a crystalline or non-crystalline form. Many construction materials have silica, like stone, drywall, cement, asphalt, brick, and concrete. Those who work in these fields as well as other industries, like agriculture, ceramics, paint and soap manufacturing, and shipbuilding and mining, may be exposed to crystalline silica dust while on the job.

When it is left undisturbed, crystalline silica is not dangerous; however, when it is disrupted, toxic particles can be created, which can get into the lungs. One estimate claims that one million construction workers are exposed to toxic levels of silica dust.

How Dangerous is Silica Dust?

Small amounts of fine silica dust is enough to be hazardous. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates the construction industry and has specific rules that apply to this toxic material. The OSHA states that employers must keep work exposures at or below the permissible exposure limit (PEL). It is not unusual for construction companies to violate OSHA regulations, though. Chipping, cutting, drilling, grinding, and blasting materials that have silica in them may create toxic silica dust that rises above the PEL.

In 1996, crystalline silica was discovered to be a carcinogen. Inhaling toxic silica dust is known to cause serious and fatal illnesses, including silicosis. Silicosis develops after toxic silica dust has entered the lungs over long periods of time. It may cause scars as well as hardening of the lung tissues. Early symptoms include chronic coughing, fever, and a shortness of breath. The disease affects people differently, depending on their state of health and amount and length of exposure. It is not curable, but can be treated with medication, and in serious cases, oxygen treatments or lung transplants. In some cases, silicosis can be fatal. Other diseases linked to toxic silica dust include:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Tuberculosis
  • Renal disease
  • Lung cancer
  • Other cancers

Can I File a Silica Dust Lawsuit?

There have been individual silica lawsuits filed by one injured person, and class action silica lawsuits involving groups of people against the same defendants. One example of the latter would be a number of constructions workers vs. the quarry company that employs them.

Some silica cases focus on products liability, which is when a plaintiff alleges that a product they used contained silica and was hazardous. They would also need evidence to show that the manufacturer did not have adequate instructions or warnings regarding safe use for the product. The manufacturer as well as the distributor could be sued.

Other silica lawsuits revolve around unsafe exposure. A group of injured workers could allege that the employer was careless and allowed the workers to become exposed to toxic amounts of silica dust. The plaintiffs would need to prove the employer’s negligence. They may be able to show that the employer failed to establish safety precautions or did not follow the OSHA guidelines.

If a person believes they were exposed to silica dust, they should meet with a lawyer to discuss their environmental toxic tort case.

Are There Ways to Reduce My Exposure?

Some companies have taken the initiative to find ways to reduce employee silica exposure. Some organizations have also taken strides to correct the problem, including the Concrete Sawing and Drilling Association, trade groups, universities, and state agencies. The OSHA requires companies to train their employees about working with silica; limited access to areas with high exposure and medical exams are also part of the standard.

A post on Construction Pros mentioned the use of vacuum lifting systems, which can be used instead of jackhammers and drills for maneuvering concrete slabs. This method can also be used in place of hammers, shackles, and anchors to cut concrete with no drills needed. Vacuum systems are also able to keep the large slabs in one piece.

The OSHA also recommends that some tools be fitted with dust collection systems and shrouds. Water systems are another way to control silica dust. According to the agency, slurry that results from wet cutting has to be cleaned appropriately in order to stop it from drying up and releasing silica dust. This can be done with shovels and high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuums.

What Else can I Do to Protect Myself?

One way to reduce exposure to silica dust is to decrease the amount of time working around it. Although some companies feel this is their decision to make, they still need to conform to OSHA regulations. It is best to have a job-specific silica dust exposure control plan in writing. It can include details about the training as well as the handling and cleanup protocols.

A control plan can mirror OSHA’s guidelines. For example, there is a section which applies to handheld power saws. The recommended work practices include using saws that have integrated water delivery systems. An integrated water delivery system continuously feeds water to the saw blade, which can significantly reduce the amount of dust. Some employers also provide respiratory equipment.

Employees who feel that their company is not taking the proper measures to protect them from silica dust exposure should not hesitate to reach out to their supervisors or Human Resources (HR) department. In some cases, the OSHA will come by to inspect the premises.

Delaware Toxic Tort Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Protect Victims Against Dangerous Levels of Silica Dust

If you feel that your health is being compromised by hazardous levels of silica dust, speak to a Delaware toxic tort lawyer at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. For a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at 302-656-5445. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.

Who Do I Sue for Toxic Mold?

Finding mold in a home, rented property, or business can be shocking and worrisome. Though small amounts of mold can be effectively removed without bringing in professionals, large amounts of mold may require extensive repairs and remediation.

Many people who have discovered unexpected pockets of mold and mildew wonder if they can or should sue for damages. This depends on the circumstances. However, everyone should first understand what makes mold a possible health, financial, and environmental concern.

Why is Mold a Potential Problem?

Mold tends to grow in dark places exposed to high humidity and moisture. This is why many people find mold in dank basements, around roof leaks in attics, and along the baseboards and walls of bathrooms. Mold spores breed rapidly and destroy materials, including drywall, wood, and carpeting. Mold generally emits a subtle or strong odor that smells musty and slightly dirty. Even if the humidity and dampness change, mold will not necessarily go away on its own. Instead, mold spores will remain in a dormant state until conditions change and they can grow again.

Although some sources suggest that toxic mold is not a huge health problem, many scientists disagree. People who are sensitive to mold can develop allergic reactions, asthmatic responses, and respiratory issues if they are exposed to moldy places.

Can Mold be Cleaned?

Small pockets of mold can be removed with special cleaners and solutions. However, bigger patches of mold may require the help of mold remediation specialists and construction professionals. For example, a piece of drywall that has been affected by mold will need to be removed, the area sanitized, and the drywall replaced. Therefore, mold removal can end up being a costly problem.

This is one of the reasons why an individual may want to pursue a lawsuit if they find mold. A successful suit might help offset most or all of the expenses related to mold remediation. However, suing may not be necessary if other steps are taken.

What are Physical and Mental Signs of Mold Exposure?

Not everyone who is exposed to mold experiences bad reactions. Nevertheless, some people report headaches, coughs, colds that will not go away, watery eyes, memory problems, fatigue, and even nosebleeds. Any symptoms should be evaluated by a physician to rule out other reasons for the problems.

What to Do After Finding Mold

A homeowners who discovers mold will want to contact their homeowner’s insurance provider. Many providers will help pay for mold removal, only charging the homeowner the deductible. It should be noted, though, that some policies clearly state that long-term mold damage is not covered. Therefore, a homeowner should inspect and know their policy terms.

A person who is renting a home should tell their landlord or property manager about the mold. This gives the person who owns the apartment, condo, townhouse, or home a chance to fix the situation.

Employees who work in businesses with obvious signs of mold need to alert their employers to the problem. This allows the employer to take the necessary steps to evaluate the mold situation and get help.

When is it Time to Call a Lawyer Regarding a Mold Infestation?

If the mold is not being properly taken care of, a person may talk to a lawyer for help with an environmental toxic tort claim. An attorney will work hard to make sure that living or occupational locations are safe and healthy for workers and the public.

Homeowners who are turned down by their homeowner’s insurance and think the mold could be related to poor construction practices may also want to call an attorney. Although winning a mold-related lawsuit can be challenging, it can be worth the effort if the mold is widespread and has led to medical and financial hardships.

Wilmington Environmental Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Provide Counsel for Clients Exposed to Toxic Mold

Did toxic mold lead to financial and medical problems for you or a family member? Exercise your legal rights by speaking with one of our Wilmington environmental lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Call us at 302-656-5445 or contact us online for a free consultation, Located in Wilmington or Millsboro, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.

New Test Detects Water Contamination in Minutes

Water is an essential part of life, and water quality is crucial. Unfortunately, there are countless environmental factors that could lead to water contamination. If these hazards are ignored, it could jeopardize everyone’s health.

To test one’s water system, the average American homeowner most likely would need to send a sample to a lab and wait weeks for the results, not to mention the high expense to do so. Fortunately, researchers at Northwestern University have designed a handheld test that gives an almost instant result whether the water is compliant with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards. Similar to a pregnancy test, the device takes one sample and gives the user a positive or negative reading. There is a total of 17 different toxins or contaminants the test looks for and can easily include more in the future.

What Household Items Contaminate Water?

The environment has changed drastically over the years as well as resources. Due to these reasons, it is important to test drinking water for contaminants. Common household items, like cleaning chemicals, can contaminate well water systems. There are also agricultural and construction areas where chemical wastes, such as pesticides or herbicides, can leak into water sources if not properly contained.

Additionally, earthquakes, landslides, flooding, and other natural disasters can cause dangerous runoffs with numerous different toxins, such as copper or iron, that ultimately end up in water supplies.

Does the Age of a Water System Impact the Quality of Drinking Water?

The common household water system is supplied by a well or by a municipality, whereas both systems are subject to aging. As water leaves either system, it is subjected to environmental contaminants before arriving to the home. The homeowner may not be aware of what is in their water.

What Problems Occur from Water Contamination?

Contaminated drinking water can lead to a myriad of health problems, such as cancer, birth defects, miscarriages, and gastrointestinal problems. The following list contains common water contaminants:

  • Lead, copper, or other metals: Since water is a natural solvent, certain metals in old pipes or in outdoor construction areas can dissolve over time in water systems.
  • Arsenic: Although commonly found in groundwater, large amounts of arsenic can lead to health issues. Arsenic is mostly tasteless and odorless.
  • Bacteria: Bacteria and viruses can be found in drinking water. Sometimes, they are hard to trace and treat.

Water should be frequently tested to ensure that it is drinkable.

Why is Water Testing Important?

There have been several occasions where corporations around the country violated EPA standards for water safety, endangering local communities, which led to environmental toxic torts and out-of-court settlements. Low cost and efficient testing is an important step to ensure safe water quality for everyone and to hold those accountable for contaminating water systems.

Delaware Water Contamination Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Help Those Sickened by Contaminated Water Systems

If you have discovered that toxins in your water might be causing an illness, you need to hold those accountable. Our Delaware water contamination lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. help victims obtain compensation for illnesses caused by contaminated water supplies. Call us at 302-656-5445 or complete our online form for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we proudly serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.

EPA Reverses the Regulation of Perchlorate Levels in Drinking Water

A recent reversal of an EPA regulation governing the amount of perchlorate levels in public drinking water has gained widespread attention. Many health and wellness consumer advocacy groups and respected environmental scientists have expressed concern that without the EPA’s oversight, water supplies could deliver excessive perchlorate to state residents around the country. Many fear that this water contamination will lead to health issues.

Studied for more than a decade, perchlorate has a record of potentially leading to long-term issues, including lowered I.Q. in children and hypothyroidism in adults. Many individuals who routinely drink water sourced from wells near perchlorate-producing military facilities or ordinary municipal water supplies are pushing for the administration to revert to prior limitations on the amount of perchlorate allowable in consumable water.

What Should I Know About Perchlorate?

The chemical, perchlorate, can occur in some natural settings and can also be man-made. It can be found in some fertilized soils, as well as potash. Its manufactured version is commonly associated with the creation of explosives, including fireworks, missiles, rocket fuel, and vehicle safety flares. Occasionally, perchlorate may be used to help create specific types of containers to store or transport dry materials.

On its own, perchlorate does not present a threat to humans. However, it should not be imbibed or ingested. Otherwise, medical disruptions may happen.

How Does Perchlorate Enter the Human Body?

People do not drink or eat perchlorate on their own accord. Most perchlorate imbibing occurs when a person drinks contaminated water, such as from a local well or even from tap water. Perchlorate leeches into the soils and groundwater supplies, eventually making its way into homes and businesses.

Some food may contain perceptible doses of perchlorate, according to tests that occurred in the mid-2000s. In general, though, the wide majority people who present problems associated with consumption of perchlorate trace their issues to their drinking water rather than foods they are eating.

How Does Perchlorate Affect the Body?

A recent study from a top university has revealed that perchlorate stops the body’s ability to fully absorb and utilize iodide and iodine. Without iodine, the thyroid gland cannot send the proper hormonal signals throughout the body. Women who are pregnant or nursing often take iodide or iodine supplements to stimulate normal thyroid growth in their developing infants.

Perchlorate puts up a barrier to the thyroid. Researchers believe that when given the choice between perchlorate and iodine, the thyroid always chooses to take in the perchlorate. Consequently, people who drink water with higher than acceptable levels of perchlorate may wind up with thyroid issues. Whenever a part of the body cannot function efficiently, it negatively impacts other parts of the human system.

Should I Monitor my Perchlorate Consumption?

Anyone who drinks well water or public water has the right to know the contents of the water, including how much perchlorate it contains. Nevertheless, with the EPA no longer measuring perchlorate, consumers may have difficulty finding out exactly what they are putting into their bodies, and the bodies of their children.

Since perchlorate can disrupt development in fetuses and babies, pregnant women should be cautious about drinking water from the faucet. After giving birth, mothers who nurse are still at risk of passing excessive amounts of perchlorate through their breast milk to their newborn infants. Parents who choose to either mix formula with tap water or give their babies bottles of tap water may introduce perchlorate into their children’s diets.

Pregnant and nursing mothers are not the only consumers who should be careful about perchlorate. People with pre-existing thyroid conditions, especially hypothyroidism, may want to do whatever they can to avoid eating or drinking perchlorate.

What Are Potential Symptoms of Too Much Perchlorate?

Having too much perchlorate can stunt the thyroid’s effectiveness, leading to anything from lowered brainpower, to sluggish ability to process everything from food to information. Many patients who develop hypothyroidism notice they have dry skin, trouble remembering items, and have trouble maintaining a healthy weight.

In babies and small children, excessive levels of perchlorate may lead to physical developmental delays, and possibly cognitive delays, according to the results of studies performed on other mammals. It should be noted that perchlorate may also affect the kidneys, pulmonary system, nervous system, reproductive organs, and liver.

How Can I Avoid Perchlorate?

It can be tough to determine how much perchlorate is in a community’s drinking supply, particularly with an end to testing. For that reason, consumers worried about drinking perchlorate in their water may want to limit using water for any type of hydration or cooking. This may include not using tap water or well water for any recipes, including those that call for boiling ingredients in heated water. Heating does not reduce the level of perchlorate. Neither does freezing, so ice cubes made from tap or well water should also be avoided. However, perchlorate-rich water seems to be safe for non-edible uses, such as cleaning dishes, taking showers and baths, and laundering clothing.

The easiest way to take away the chances of drinking water with perchlorate is to keep bottled water on hand at all times. Drinking bottled, purified water from a reliable source can greatly reduce exposure to perchlorate.

What do I do if I am Exposed to Perchlorate?

If you feel that you have been exposed to water containing high levels of perchlorate, you can contact your physicians for a work-up. A simple blood test can determine if a patient suffers from hypothyroidism or another common symptom of overexposure to perchlorate. Parents who feel their children were exposed to perchlorate may want to contact their pediatricians.

People who believe that they have a strong link between a medical issue and drinking water with perchlorate can always contact an attorney who practices environmental law. Environmental lawyers focus their attention on bringing justice for individuals and families affected by environmental-related problems. Having evidence from a doctor can go a long way towards making a claim.

Wilmington Environmental Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Stand Strong for Consumers Exposed to Unhealthy Levels of Perchlorate in Their Drinking Water

Are you having serious thyroid issues or other issues that could be related to drinking or eating perchlorate? If so, our Wilmington environmental lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. will evaluate your case and fight for your rights. Contact us online or call us at 302-656-5445 for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.

Mask Shortage Leaving American Farmers Exposed to Pesticides

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused job loss, illness, and death around the world. At the same time, there are many unintended consequences tied to the response to the novel coronavirus. One of the most striking problems is the global mask shortage and how it impacts those who wear face masks outside the medical field. Farmers have been hit hard by the global mask shortage, and their plight should be taken seriously as they attempt to feed the population.

How Did COVID-19 Cause This Problem?

One of the first things that happened in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic was the shortage of toilet paper. This basic need for common household supplies is completely understandable, but it was not a sustained panic. As the population calmed down, stayed home, and changed routines, masks and hand sanitizer became a serious household need that was often difficult to find or afford.

Even if the population remains as clean as possible, the Center of Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), along with local and national governments, have urged citizens to wear face masks in public. A shortage on face masks began, and now they are sold in stores around the world as readily as anything else. Consumers are buying masks online, and companies are stockpiling masks for workers.

Agriculture, however, was left out of the loop. Farmers and their farmhands work in fields everyday and use pesticides to protect their crops. To protect themselves from pesticides, farmers must wear face masks.

The Face Mask Shortage Widens the Personal Protective Equipment Gap for Farmers

The WHO estimates that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for and consumption of personal protective equipment (PPE) 100 times over. Companies that produce face masks have experienced a financial windfall that is practically unmatched. These companies, however, cannot keep up with demand. Manufacturers have also stated that they may not be able to keep up with demand for quite some time.

This shortfall directly impacts farm workers who must wear N95 masks if they are working with and around pesticides. Farmers could not have imagined how much the pandemic would change how they operate.

Farmers Are Considered Essential Workers

Farmers and their farmhands are considered essential workers by the Department of Homeland Security, and these farmers have been working consistently as the COVID-19 pandemic happens around them, their communities, and sometimes their farms. If farmers do not have the masks they need to continue, they still need to work because crops could die, and they will lose money, and the population will not have food to eat.

Farmers are left in a precarious position because they are keenly aware that they should be using face masks at work every day, regardless of what is going on around them.

Why do Farmers Need Face Masks?

Farmers need face masks because they routinely come in contact with pesticides on the job. Even if farmers are not spraying pesticides, they are working in fields where pesticides have been used, or they are using machinery that has pesticide residue lingering on surfaces. Additionally, farmers may even work in areas where pesticides could be blown downwind to their location.

Farmers might work in facilities where pesticides are stored nearby, or they may need to pick up large shipments of pesticides, handle them, and store them. Essentially, anyone who works on a farm will be exposed to pesticides one way or another.

Pesticides Can Cause Illnesses and Death

Pesticides have been linked to a range of conditions, including:

  • Diminished lung function
  • Asthma
  • Lung cancer
  • COPD
  • “Farmer’s lung”

Farmers may develop occupational asthma that was brought on by the chemicals they breathe in at work. This condition causes the lungs and air pathways to constrict and makes it difficult or impossible to breathe. Additionally, sufferers may need to carry a rescue inhaler for the rest of their lives because asthma attacks are unpredictable. Farmer’s lung is known as hypersensitivity pneumonitis in medical circles. Farmers could also develop COPD, which is most common in lifelong smokers, or they might develop lung cancer due to long-term exposure.

Additionally, farmers are at greater risk of contracting the novel coronavirus. Anyone who is immunocompromised can get sick easily, and farmers often work in crowded areas where they cannot avoid human contact. Moreover, farm workers often live in temporary quarters that can act as breeding grounds for diseases, including COVID-19.

What Are Some Common Symptoms of Pesticide Exposure?

Pesticide exposure causes a range of symptoms that could easily be confused with the common cold or even the flu. Since some Americans ignore minor illnesses or symptoms, farmers might miss the signs of pesticide exposure, which include:

  • Chronic dry throat
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain

If you or anyone working with you notices these symptoms, you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Also, it is beneficial to seek legal counsel, an experienced lawyer will help determine if you eligible for filing an environmental toxic tort claim. Confronting your pesticide exposure is better than allowing the problem to grow into a more severe condition.

How Can Farmers Protect Themselves?

First, employers are required by law to provide PPE to their employees. This leaves farmers in bad situations. They could be in violation of federal law if they cannot find masks during this shortage. The U.S. government often recommends that farmers use engineering to disperse pesticides safely. Farmers could use microbial pesticides that do not contain harmful chemicals, or they may introduce insects to their crops that will kill crop-eating pests.

Farmers should not allow their employees to use bandannas or cloth masks in the field, and all N95 masks should be discarded at least every eight hours. A mixture of safe practices and new farming techniques will protect farm workers and will help combat problems during the mask shortage.

Delaware Environmental Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Serve Injured Farm Workers Exposed to Chemicals at Work

If you have been exposed to pesticides or are at risk for developing COVID-19 on the job, reach out to our professional Delaware environmental lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. We can review your case and potentially file an environmental toxic tort to recover damages. Call us at 302-656-5445 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we proudly represent clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.

Reduction of Environmental Funding in Delaware

Over the last decade, there has been a steep reduction in the amount of environmental funding and staffing available at both federal and state levels. According to a new report by the Environmental Integrity Project, these budget cuts come at a most inopportune time considering the booming oil and gas industry, and the ever-increasing number of flagrant violators who continue to go unchecked.

Most States Have Reduced Environmental Agency Funding Over the Last Decade

According to the report, 30 states have reduced funding to their environmental agencies’ pollution control programs. These cuts were implemented despite the devastating impact of climate change and coastal flooding in several states. Forty states reduced the staffing levels at their environmental agencies, and 21 states eliminated at least 10 percent of their environmental workforce.

Delaware cut its environmental agency funding by 33 percent since 2008, earning a spot among the top five states with the largest percentage of cuts to operating budgets in the last decade. Additionally, it is reported that:

  • Out of the 30 states that reduced funding, 16 did so by more than 20 percent.
  • States eliminated more than 4,400 positions at environmental protection agencies.
  • In some cases, environmental agency funding was slashed despite an increase in overall state spending.
  • The reduction in spending for state pollution control programs cuts across party lines and has occurred in both notoriously democratic states, such as Delaware.
  • Delaware was among the top 10 states with the largest percentage of cuts to environmental agency staff, which is a 21 percent decrease since 2008.

How Are Environmental Laws Being Implemented and Enforced?

Understaffing and underfunding has made it more difficult for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as state environmental agencies to implement and enforce environmental protection laws, such as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Those who have been exposed to toxic materials or chemicals may be able to obtain compensation in an environmental toxic tort claim. To prove a toxic tort claim, a plaintiff must generally show that the substance he or she was exposed to is dangerous and caused harm. Available damages typically include medical expenses and monitoring, lost wages, pain and suffering, and potentially wrongful death damages in cases of toxic tort-related fatalities. For more information, it is best to contact a local environmental attorney that will explain environmental toxic torts, your legal rights, and options.

Wilmington Environment Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Represent Victims Who Are Exposed to Toxins

If you were harmed by exposure to environmental pollutants, contact one of our knowledgeable Wilmington environment lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. today. We are dedicated to holding corporations accountable for their actions and obtaining maximum compensation for our clients. Complete our online form or call us at 302-656-5445 for a free case consultation. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.

What Medical Conditions Are Caused by Environmental Contamination?

Environmental contamination affects more than just the natural environment.  Pollution can have devastating health effects on individuals exposed to toxins in their daily lives. Recognizing the most common medical conditions resulting from environmental contamination is an important step in holding polluters responsible for the harm they cause. Some of the most frequently occurring medical conditions which can develop after exposure to toxins includes cancer, heart problems, and brain tumors.

What Cancers Are Caused by Environmental Contamination?

One of the most widely reported health consequences linked to environmental contamination is the development of cancer. Mesothelioma is an asbestos-related disease and one of the most severe medical conditions that can be caused by pollution, it is a rare form of cancer in the outer lining of the lungs. Each year, almost 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with this deadly disease, which can take years to manifest after the initial exposure to asbestos.

Risks of developing skin cancers, including melanoma, increases with prolonged sun exposure, but also with exposure to environmental pollution. Scientists believe when airborne pollutants deplete the protective ozone layer, individuals are exposed to greater amounts of damaging ultraviolet radiation. Direct skin exposure to other pollutants, including polyaromatic hydrocarbons, such as DMBA, also may lead to the development of some types of skin cancer.

Exposure to miniscule particulate pollutants have been traced to the development of liver cancer, the toxins stimulate the growth of hepatic tumors and low-grade inflammation in some exposure victims. Other types of cancers which can result from environmental contamination include leukemia and cancer of the lung or colon.

Can Environmental Contamination Cause Heart-Related Conditions?

Pollution can contribute to cardiovascular conditions. According to research conducted by the American Heart Association, air pollution is connected to an increased risk of heart disease and fatal cardiovascular disease. Particulate matter pollution can be especially dangerous to individuals who may develop atherosclerosis, triggering acute heart attacks.

What Can Cause Brain Tumors?

Research indicates individuals exposed to certain airborne pollutants face an increased risk of developing brain tumors. Tumors can be cancerous or otherwise harmful to normal brain functioning. The presence of a brain tumor is not the only effect caused by environmental contamination. Many individuals exposed to toxins experience other brain-related deficits, including memory loss, brain inflammation, and cognitive functioning problems.

Other medical conditions related to environmental contamination include hepatitis A, emphysema, and other respiratory illnesses.

How Can you Obtain Compensation?

Individuals suffering from a medical condition resulting from environmental contamination often face additional financial stresses. The costs of ongoing medical treatment, prescription drugs, occupational or physical therapy, and lost wages can be overwhelming for families. Filing a civil lawsuit against those companies responsible for releasing toxic materials into the environment, including the manufacturers, distributors, and marketers of contaminated products, can result in an award of damages.

Millsboro Environmental Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Help Victims Obtain Compensation for Illnesses Caused by Environmental Contamination

If you have developed a serious medical condition after being exposed to environmental contamination, we can help you. Our Millsboro environmental lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. help obtain compensation for toxic exposure victims. Contact us online or call us at 302-656-5445 for a free consultation today. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.