Toxic Tort Law



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Toxic Torts Law refers to the issues associated with and caused by exposure to toxic substances, such as industrial chemicals, pesticides, lead-based paint, pharmaceutical drugs, and environmental toxins. It is a subset of Personal Injury law and often results in Mass Torts.

Toxic tort claims are brought by individuals and/or groups who have been exposed to dangerous substances and suffered injuries and damages due to this exposure. For a successful cause of action in most toxic tort claims, the plaintiff must prove the following elements:

- The substance was harmful/dangerous/toxic;
- The plaintiff was exposed to this substance; and
- The substance caused harm/damage to the plaintiff.

It is essential to show causation in a toxic tort claim, which can prove difficult due to the nature of these types of injuries. Often the damage caused by exposure to dangerous substances isn’t evident for several years following the exposure. (See Asbestos and Mesothelioma Law) Moreover, it can be extremely challenging to prove that the substance in question is the causing factor. Therefore, these types of lawsuits depend heavily on science and medical records and studies.

There are generally five different types of toxic exposure claims:

1. Workplace or Occupational Exposure, where workers are exposed to dangerous toxins in their workplace.
2. Home exposure, where individuals are in contact with these substances in their places of residence, such as mold, mildew or fungus and formaldehyde-treated wood and carpet.
3. Environmental exposure, where people ingest harmful toxins in their drinking water or air.
4. Pharmaceutical drugs, where persons prescribed medication suffer from unintended side-effects which cause severe damage (See pharmaceutical law).
5. Consumer products, where consumers are injured or damaged by products with hazardous materials, such as breast implants, or tobacco.

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Articles on HG.org Related to Toxic Torts Law

  • Puerto Rican Island Residents Sue US Government for Human Rights Violations
    After decades of live fire exercises on the island of Vieques in Puerto Rico, the US government ceased to fire on the island in 2003. Nevertheless, the legacy of those training exercises linger on, and now a group of residents have filed a lawsuit against the US government claiming human rights violations.
  • Proving Lead Poisoning Cases
    The heyday of lead poisoning cases may be past, but they still pop up from time to time. Often, lead paint is discovered in older homes when renovations are underway. The effects of lead poisoning are often slow to develop and require difficult proofs.
  • Common Questions About Mesothelioma
    If you have been exposed to asbestos and been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may want to know if you have a case against someone for your injuries, and if so, what the process for making that claim will be.
  • The Dangers of Asbestos
    The natural occurring mineral asbestos is a well-known human carcinogen. Despite the current knowledge of its danger, asbestos has been used prevalently throughout human history and its effects are still being felt today. People normally associate the causes of cancer with tobacco or perhaps exposure to radiation. However, there are a number of harmful materials that, after prolonged exposure, can cause cancer.
  • What You Need to Know about Lead Based Paint in Your Home
    If you live in Oregon, you need to know that lead-based paint was used in many older houses and can still negatively affect the health of those living in older houses, especially children. If you notice signs of lead-based paint poisoning in your child, take immediate action. From ancient times, it has been known that contact with lead can pose serious health risks, yet civilization has found countless uses for this toxic substance.
  • Federal Torts Claim Act – What You Need to Know Now
    When an individual is injured due to the negligence of any employee of the United States who is acting in their role as a government employee at the time the negligence occurs, then there can be a viable cause of action on behalf of the injured person. - Written by Joel S. Rosen, Esquire
  • Mesothelioma
    Mesothelioma is a type of rare cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos and the inhalation of asbestos particles. Asbestos is a set of naturally occurring silicate minerals that is used commercially for its resistance to fire, heat, and electrical damage and applied for use in electrical insulation and building insulation.
  • Asbestos Exposure and Naval Veterans
    Naval Veterans may have been exposed to asbestos during their service. This can lead to a number of harmful disease including lung cancer and mesothelioma. Lawsuits are now underway to help victims of asbestos exposure. Breathing asbestos has been associated with a multitude of medical ailments, including lung cancer and mesothelioma (a cancer of the lung lining).
  • What is Wrongful Death under Michigan Law?
    If you or a family member has lost a loved one due to an accident you may have means for a Michigan wrongful death lawsuit. Many people may ask, “What is wrongful death?” A wrongful death is defined as a death that resulted due to the negligence or misconduct of another person.
  • Lead Paint in Homes and Toys Threatens the Long-Term Health of Children
    A child explores the world by touching, tasting, and putting things into its mouth. However, sometimes these objects and materials contain dangerous and unseen contaminants such as lead. Lead is a naturally occurring, a very toxic heavy metal, that can cause dangerous health problems when there is too much of it in our bodies.
  • All Tort and Personal Injury Law Articles

    Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Tort and Personal Injury including: animal bites, asbestos mesothelioma, back and neck injury, bicycle accident, birth injury, brain injury, burn injuries, catastrophic injuries, construction accidents, construction injuries, defamation, libel and slander, defective products, industrial injuries, mass tort, negligence, nursing home abuse, pedestrian accident, personal injury, premises liability, product liability, sexual abuse, slip and fall, spinal cord injury, torts, toxic mold, toxic torts, workplace injuries and wrongful death.

Toxic Torts Law - US

  • ABA - Environmental Litigation and Toxic Torts Committee

    The Environmental Litigation and Toxic Torts Committee is one of the largest and most diverse committee in the Section. We are over 900 lawyers strong with members from most every State and several countries. In addition to our geographical diversity, our members represent all sides of the environmental equation. While some committee members regularly represent environmental groups and injured plaintiffs others routinely defend such cases. We also benefit from the participation of several lawyers in academia and others that work for state and federal agencies and law enforcement.

  • Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)

    The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), commonly known as Superfund, was enacted by Congress on December 11, 1980. This law created a tax on the chemical and petroleum industries and provided broad Federal authority to respond directly to releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances that may endanger public health or the environment. Over five years, $1.6 billion was collected and the tax went to a trust fund for cleaning up abandoned or uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.

  • Environmental Protection Agency - Laws and Regulations

    A number of laws serve as EPA's foundation for protecting the environment and public health. However, most laws do not have enough detail to be put into practice right away. EPA is called a regulatory agency because Congress authorizes us to write regulations that explain the critical details necessary to implement environmental laws. In addition, a number of Presidential Executive Orders (EOs) play a central role in our activities.

  • Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act

    On September 27, 2007, President George W. Bush signed into law H.R. 3580, the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007. This new law represents a very significant addition to FDA authority.

  • HHS - General Administration Manual Part 30 Environmental Protection

    EPCRA was enacted in 1986 as Title III of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA), Pub. L. No. 99-499, 100 Stat. 1729 (codified at 42 U.S.C. ''11001-11050(1988)). Although they are sometimes connected by their emergency notification and reporting requirements, EPCRA is a separate act from the "Superfund" law or, as it is officially titled, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA).

  • Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDA)

    The owner or operator of any facility which is required to prepare or have available a material safety data sheet for a hazardous chemical under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 [29 U.S.C. 651 et seq.] and regulations promulgated under that Act shall submit a material safety data sheet for each such chemical, or a list of such chemicals as described in paragraph (2).

  • OSHA - Occupational Safety and Health Standards

    The purpose of these standards is to ensure that the hazards of all chemicals produced or imported are evaluated, and that information concerning their hazards is transmitted to employers and employees. This transmittal of information is to be accomplished by means of comprehensive hazard communication programs, which are to include container labeling and other forms of warning, material safety data sheets and employee training.

  • Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA)

    Superfund is the name given to the environmental program established to address abandoned hazardous waste sites. It is also the name of the fund established by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, as amended (CERCLA statute, CERCLA overview). This law was enacted in the wake of the discovery of toxic waste dumps such as Love Canal and Times Beach in the 1970s. It allows the EPA to clean up such sites and to compel responsible parties to perform cleanups or reimburse the government for EPA-lead cleanups. This Web site provides topical information for the general public and for those involved in the Superfund program. On this site, you'll find information about Superfund sites in your area, the health effects of common contaminants, cleanup efforts, and how you can become involved in cleanup activities in your community.

  • Toxic Substances Control Act

    The Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 provides EPA with authority to require reporting, record-keeping and testing requirements, and restrictions relating to chemical substances and/or mixtures. Certain substances are generally excluded from TSCA, including, among others, food, drugs, cosmetics and pesticides.

Organizations Related to Toxic Torts Law

  • Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)

    The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), based in Atlanta, Georgia, is a federal public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. ATSDR serves the public by using the best science, taking responsive public health actions, and providing trusted health information to prevent harmful exposures and diseases related to toxic substances.

  • American Chemical Society (ACS)

    With more than 161,000 members, the American Chemical Society (ACS) is the world’s largest scientific society and one of the world’s leading sources of authoritative scientific information. A nonprofit organization, chartered by Congress, ACS is at the forefront of the evolving worldwide chemical enterprise and the premier professional home for chemists, chemical engineers and related professions around the globe.

  • National Toxic Substance Incidents Program (NTSIP)

    The National Toxic Substance Incidents Program (NTSIP) collects and combines information from many resources to protect people from harm caused by spills and leaks of toxic substances. NTSIP gathers information about harmful spills into a central place. People can use NTSIP information to help prevent or reduce the harm caused by toxic substance incidents.

Publications Related to Toxic Torts Law

  • Chemical Exposure Health Data

    For comparison against many occupational health standards, it is necessary to measure quantitative exposure levels in the workplace. Depending on circumstances, there are various sampling technologies, procedures, and philosophies to measure airborne chemical concentrations to workers. Exposure assessment data can be compared to established standards to help determine if the exposure is acceptable.

  • Toxicogenomics and Toxic Tort Litigation

    Proving causation in toxic tort litigation has proven difficult for a long time, says Genomics Law Report's Jon Ferry. But work being done in the field of toxicogenomics is allowing lawyers to refine their cases and take a more targeted approach.