One widely used pesticide, chlorpyrifos, has been a recent focus of litigation. Every year 30 million pounds of chlorpyrifos are sprayed into American homes, businesses and fields. Chlorpyrifos kills pests by disrupting normal nerve transmission, inhibiting an enzyme in the insect’s nervous system. In humans, chlorpyrifos can cause headaches, blurred vision, nausea, convulsions, flu-like symptoms and even seizures. In extreme cases, it has been linked to quadriplegia, genetic damage, birth defects, immune-system abnormalities and death.
From 1985 to 1992, 25,995 cases of chlorpyrifos exposure were reported to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. Data collected by the AAPCC in 1997 showed that chlorpyrifos exposures averaged 3,000 per year. Data also shows that chlorpyrifos has the most life-threatening medical conditions of any organophosphate pesticide on the market. People exposed to significant quantities of chlorpyrifos have suffered seizures, and learning disabilities. Terminix has faced several lawsuits in excess of $100 million for using chlorpyrifos. Pesticide claims can be brought on grounds of negligence, strict liability, failure to warn, and breach of warranty.
For these reasons, and as specifically required under the Food Quality Protection Act (1996), EPA carefully evaluates children’s exposure to pesticide residues in and on foods they most commonly eat, i.e., apples and apple juice, orange juice, potatoes, tomatoes, soybean oil, sugar, eggs, pork, chicken and beef.
EPA is also evaluating new and existing pesticides to ensure that they can be used with a reasonable certainty of no harm to adults as well as infants and children. According to data collected from the American Association of Poison Control Centers, in 1995 alone, an estimated 79,000 children were involved in common household pesticide-related poisonings or exposures in the United States. An additional 19,837 children were exposed to or poisoned by household chlorine bleach.
A survey by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding pesticides used in and around the home revealed some significant findings:
- Almost half — 47% — of all households with children under the age of five had at least one pesticide stored in an unlocked cabinet, less than 4 feet off the ground (i.e., within the reach of children).
- Approximately 75% of households without children under the age of five also stored pesticides in an unlocked cabinet, less than 4 feet off the ground (i.e., within the reach of children). This number is especially significant because 13% of all pesticide poisoning incidents occur in homes other than the child’s home.
- Bathrooms and kitchens were cited as the areas in the home most likely to have improperly stored pesticides. Examples of some common household pesticides found in bathrooms and kitchens include roach sprays; chlorine bleach; kitchen and bath disinfectants; rat poison; insect and wasp sprays, repellents and baits; and, flea and tick shampoos and dips for pets. Other household pesticides include swimming pool chemicals and weed killers.
In all Toxic Tort cases it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the incident in question, and to enable physicians or other expert witnesses to thoroughly evaluate any injuries.
If you or a loved one is a victim of injury caused by a toxic substance, call Brotman Nusbaum Ibrahim & Adelman now at (888) 661-6266 or CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A CASE FORM. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Don’t delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.
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