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Arsenic is a naturally occurring element of the periodic table that is highly poisonous to humans and yet is commonly found in workplaces, drinking water, and the air around factories and some plants. Arsenic exposure can lead to serious health problems, including death.
Arsenic-containing gas causes a hemolytic syndrome. Arsenic exposure can lead to hepatic necrosis, elevated liver enzymes, renal failure, shock, vascular changes in the breathing mechanisms of the body, skin color changes, skin cancer, mucus irritation, bone marrow problems, and serious cases of lung cancer, among others. In pregnant women, arsenic exposure can lead to spontaneous abortions and severe congenital birth and fetal malformations.
While arsenic is naturally occurring, human behavior, mostly in the form of large industrial workplaces and factories, can cause the release of dangerous levels of arsenic, either into the air, the ground, or water. Main sources of arsenic release include smelters, coal-fired plants, and pesticides. City air has more of a concentration of arsenic than rural or underdeveloped areas. People who live near these factories, work in them, build on land associated with them, or who have a long-term presence near them can be exposed to and harmed by arsenic.
Arsenic poisoning occurs as well, frequently in accidental cases involving children, but also in adults. Most adult cases of arsenic poisoning involve some amount of criminal activity. In 1989 the EPA passed several laws phasing out some insect poisons that contained arsenic after several incidents of poisoning in children occurred.
Exposure to arsenic can also come from wood that has been treated with arsenate wood preservatives. Burning the wood or other types of exposure to it can prove to be just as hazardous as working in a factory or near large amounts of arsenic. Even cutting the wood or touching it can cause arsenic poisoning. Arsenic can also be exposed to a fetus via the placenta of the arsenic-exposed mother. Arsenic can also be found in many foods, particularly meats like beef, chicken, and fish.
While the production of arsenic commercially has decreased overall in the US, imports of arsenic have grown. This increase in use is primarily seen in the wood preservation industry but also in insecticides, herbicides, algicides, and growth formulas for plants and even animals.
Drinking water exposed to arsenic has been one of the most commonly occurring forms of arsenic exposure in the world. While many cities and states claim to have preventative measures in place, the arsenic can seep into water supplies, particularly near factories or other industrial sites.
If you or someone you know has suffered an illness or injury and you suspect it might have been caused by arsenic exposure, your first course of action should be to contact our law firm immediately. Our experienced arsenic law team can give you a free no-obligation consultation to determine your case. If we decide to take your case we will aggressively pursue a compensation that either meets or exceeds the damages you may have undergone due to illegal arsenic exposure.