Numerous Americans die every year due to toxic materials in their homes. Most of these deaths occur due to respiratory illnesses caused by exposure to asbestos, benzene, lead, arsenic, and other toxic and carcinogenic materials. However, in other cases, it could be due to storing certain things like crops that have been sprayed with herbicides like Paraquat. Whatever the reason for becoming ill, it is vital that you understand your rights regarding hazardous building materials and more. This post will cover some of the most toxic materials used in the building industry and what you can do if you become ill.
What Hazardous Materials Have Been Or Are Still Used In The Building Industry?
The building industry is one of the largest and most dangerous industries globally. The materials used to construct buildings can pose a significant risk to humans and the environment. Out of all hazardous materials that are used in this industry, asbestos is one of the most common. It was widely used for insulation, fireproofing, and soundproofing until it was banned in 1989 due to its toxicity. The EPA reports that asbestos causes lung cancer and mesothelioma, which is a rare form of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs or abdomen.
Nevertheless, there are plenty of others, and while the EPA has made great strides to reduce or ban the use of some materials, other hazardous chemicals are still used today. This can be seen most accurately in the agriculture industry’s use of a herbicide known as Paraquat. While this isn’t a building material per se, it is an excellent example of the EPA ignoring the toxicity of certain chemicals for various reasons. In fact, when it comes to Paraquat, there are numerous class action lawsuits currently taking place. Some Paraquat MDL lawsuit updates indicate that there are presently over 700 enacted against the manufacturers of this chemical. Although this chemical generally relates to rural areas, plenty of others directly affect residential homeowners.
Mining of asbestos for industrial purposes has been an ongoing practice for centuries. It was used because it is resistant to heat, electricity, and acid, making it ideal for insulation. Asbestos can also be woven into fabric or mixed with cement to create fireproofing materials. Many countries have banned asbestos because of the health risks it poses. In 1989, the U.S. banned the use of asbestos in construction materials, and most asbestos in its buildings was removed by the end of the 1990s. Asbestos fibers are not visible to the naked eye, but when they become airborne, they can cause lung cancer and other diseases such as mesothelioma or asbestosis.
Silica is a mineral that is found in sandstone and granite. It is used in the building industry because of its properties to reduce the risk of fire and improve concrete strength, hardness, and abrasion resistance. The health effects of silica exposure include lung cancer, lung disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Inhaling silica dust can also cause kidney damage and even death. In the United States alone, millions of workers are exposed to high levels of silica dust daily. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set limits on how much silica workers can be exposed to each day in order to protect their health.
Formaldehyde is a colorless, odorless gas that is mainly emitted from materials and products used in the construction and household industries. In construction, formaldehyde is widely used in insulation products, as an adhesive in wood panel products, and as a binder in carpet products. High levels of the compound in the air can cause respiratory problems like asthma and skin irritation like dermatitis and itchiness.
Halogenated Flame Retardants
Halogenated flame retardants are used in the construction industry for a variety of reasons. They are most commonly used for their fire-retardant properties and as corrosion inhibitors. The primary use of halogenated flame retardants is to provide protection against fires and other heat sources. These flame retardants can be applied to building materials such as insulation, plywood, and carpets. This chemical, however, has been linked to:
- Developmental problems in children
- Congenital disabilities
- Endocrine system disruption
Lead is a heavy, soft, toxic metal that has been used in the construction industry for many years. It has been used in the building industry because it is easy to cut and mold into shapes. Lead was also added to paint because it helped protect the surface of buildings from weathering. It is capable of damaging your body in numerous ways, including:
- Your central nervous system
- Cardiovascular system
- Hematological system
- Your kidneys
- Your reproductive system
Toxic Chemicals And Your Rights If You Become Ill
Most people are unaware of the many toxic chemicals they are exposed to in their daily lives. These chemicals can be found in everyday items such as cleaning products, paint, furniture, and even clothing. If you become ill because of exposure to a toxic chemical, you may not know your legal rights.
Consult With Your Physician
The most important thing is your health, so if you believe you have become sick due to chemical exposure, the first thing you must do is visit your doctor. They can diagnose you and help you with a range of medicines to give you the best chance of a good outcome. When you visit the doctor, you must remember to keep all documentation and results that you can present to your lawyer if you wish to litigate.
Consult With A Lawyer
It is essential to consult with a lawyer if you become sick from chemical exposure. This is because lawyers are trained and experienced in the laws governing toxic substances, and they can help you understand your rights and what legal options you may have. Lawyers can also help you find out who is responsible for your illness and how to get compensation for your injuries. Nonetheless, it is paramount that you choose an attorney based on their experience dealing with these specific cases.
The use of toxic building materials such as asbestos is still a serious risk to human health, and houses built with these poisonous materials could pose a problem to homeowners. If you or someone you know has become ill from exposure, you should get medical help immediately and then find an attorney capable of handling these cases.