What Is Considered An Environmental Injury

by Terry Bryant

A large variety of naturally-occurring or artificial contaminants can cause environmental injury to those who are unaware of their forced exposure. It’s unlikely that exposure to environmental contaminants can ever be completely eliminated, but the unfortunate fact is that in many cases serious illnesses or death could have been prevented if proper measures were taken.

Illnesses that seem to appear for no reason can often be attributed to unnecessary exposure to many harmful and toxic substances, including any of the following:

•    Lead. Although most people think that lead exposure has been drastically reduced over the years, the unfortunate fact is that lead still poses one of the greatest risks of environmental injury to American children. Not only are outdated pipes and lead-based paints potential sources of contamination, but products from foreign countries with less stringent standards on levels of lead, such as the toys from China which Mattel was forced to recall in 2007, can cause harm to children.

•    Asbestos. This is another potential cause of environmental injury that is often overlooked. Asbestos was first banned in the late 1970s, but since mesothelioma caused by asbestos can take 30 or 40 years to show up, many victims are only now seeing the results of their past exposure. One of the greatest concerns of asbestos is that not only does it affect those who work with it, but fibers brought home in clothing can affect loved ones who may be exposed simply by doing a load of laundry.

•    Oil Spill. Those who live near an area affected by an oil spill can suffer from hydrocarbons and other chemicals included in the crude oil. Cleanup workers are at an especially high risk, however, as they are exposed to the chemicals in their freshest state. Common symptoms to this type of exposure can include respiratory problems, rashes, and cancer from exposure to known carcinogens in crude oil. Chemical plant leaks can also be included in this type of incident that can cause harm.