Toxic chemicals are widespread throughout modern society, but most of us are unaware of them or are lucky to never come in contact with them. Some toxic materials, like asbestos and lead, are heavily regulated to protect the general consumer, but it is still possible for workers in certain manufacturing and construction industries to be exposed to them and suffer from chronic illnesses. Even more common materials like pesticides, carbon monoxide, and manganese can cause severe brain damage when inhaled or ingested.
If you have suffered a brain injury due to toxic exposure, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the party who exposed you to dangerous chemicals. At Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, our team of experienced and knowledgeable New York toxic exposure brain injury lawyers can investigate your case and diligently pursue compensation on your behalf from whoever caused your injuries. To speak to us in a free consultation, call our office at (212) 986-7353.
There are approximately 1,000 substances that, if you are exposed to them, may result in brain injury. This can range from temporary unconsciousness to long-term medical conditions to fatal inhalation. Despite strict regulations on hazardous materials and dangerous toxins, many workers, homeowners, and tenants are exposed to them every day across New York.
The most common toxins that can cause a brain injury include:
Carbon Monoxide: Exposure to carbon monoxide can occur in many homes due to improperly installed furnaces, insufficient ventilation, and faulty safety devices. It is also a danger when out boating, as carbon monoxide can build up under a boat and cause nearby swimmers to pass out and drown. Inhaling carbon monoxide will render you unconscious and may lead to death. Survivors of carbon monoxide poisoning may suffer from depression, headaches, decreased mental capacity, dementia, and permanent brain injury.
Lead: Children are at high risk of being poisoned by lead. Older homes, antique furniture, and children’s toys may be painted with lead-based products, and children who ingest these products (through teething or curiosity) may develop neurological problems such as decreased motor skills. Prolonged exposure to lead-based products may lead to permanent injuries.
Asbestos: The dangers of asbestos are well known among most major industries and, despite it being outlawed, there are still cases of asbestos exposure reported to this day. Long-term exposure can result in a fatal type of cancer known as mesothelioma, which can take decades to develop. If you work in an industry that puts you at risk of being exposed to asbestos, you should review all safety procedures and speak to your doctor regularly about the risks.
Black Mold: While general mold can naturally occur during damp weather, black mold is a toxic substance that can build up in sinks, walls, and ventilation systems. This material can release toxic spores that negatively impact the brain, leading to a variety of psychological issues, such as depression, mood swings, memory loss, and anxiety.
Manganese: Manganese is a type of toxic metal that can cause serious damage to the brain over a period of time. Exposure often occurs due to tainted drinking water, which could be the result of old or corroded pipes. Over a long period of time, manganese exposure can lead to brain damage, drowsiness, tremors, decreased mental capability, dizziness, nightmares, and sleep disturbance.
Mercury: Mercury is considered one of the top 10 most dangerous chemicals by the World Health Organization. While it can naturally be found in fish, it is also common in certain manufacturing industries. Exposure to mercury may result in breathing problems, decreased motor skills, a lack of coordination, tremors, decreased mental alertness, or even death.
Pesticides: Pesticides are utilized by farms, lawn-care companies, park owners, and even office buildings to prevent the spread of bugs and insects. As common as these chemicals are, they can be incredibly dangerous when inhaled. Exposure to pesticides may lead to headaches, blurred vision, impaired motor skills, difficulty breathing, confusion, organ failure, or even death.
Solvents: Chemicals found in solvents, such as paint thinners and glue, can lead to brain damage, including visual problems, memory and attention deficits, lack of sense of smell, balance problems, headaches, confusion, and dementia.
Every toxin has a different effect on the brain, and the long-term damage can vary depending on the amount of chemicals you were exposed to. Most damage is caused through inhalation, with the toxin working its way through your bloodstream and into the brain. Some victims suffer immediate side effects, especially if they have certain health conditions like a compromised immune system or asthma.
Other toxins may not have a specific effect on the body but can make it difficult for oxygen to reach the brain, resulting in oxygen deprivation. Without a regular supply of oxygen to the brain, those exposed to these chemicals may pass out, suffer nerve cell death, and eventually died. Even if they do receive treatment, there may be some lasting side-effects that follow them for years to come.
Some common brain conditions that occur due to toxic exposure include:
- Motor issues
- Cell death
- Memory loss
- Mood swings
- Sleeping problems
- Difficulties breathing
- Vision problems
There are several long-term disabilities linked to chemical exposure, ranging from blindness as a result of lead to limited motor control as a result of brain damage. Victims can also suffer from decreased brain functions that limit their ability to think about complex topics, control their emotions, and develop new skills. In many cases, toxic exposure can also be fatal.
Toxic chemicals are found throughout New York City, although many are heavily regulated to limit exposure. Asbestos and lead have been outright outlawed across the state, and most exposure is due to older materials found during renovations of old buildings, in antique products, and from poorly managed properties.
Oftentimes, the risk of exposure is limited to the type of job you have. Workers in the construction industry, factories, and chemical plants are all at high risk of developing serious medical conditions due to dangerous toxins. This is why employers are expected to follow all safety standards and provide protective equipment when exposure is a possibility.
Common causes of toxic exposure in New York include:
- Unsecure toxic chemicals on construction sites
- Poor safety equipment at factories and chemical plants
- Demolitions and renovations
- Compressed gas accidents
- Old paints
- Unsafe products
- Negligent property owners
If you have suffered chemical exposure due to unsafe work conditions, dangerous products, or a negligent property owner, then you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation. Given how dangerous toxic exposure can be, compensation could include all of the costs of your medical injuries, especially if you suffered a brain injury.
Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, is a dedicated personal injury law firm established in 1990. We have more than 50 years of experience in personal injury law and specialize in representing victims of brain damage. If you were exposed to toxic chemicals and suffered a traumatic brain injury, we can represent you in a:
- Personal injury claim
- Premises liability claim
- Medical malpractice claim
- Workers’ compensation claim
- Product liability claim
We have settled numerous cases on behalf of injured clients who have suffered due to the negligence of others. Our dedicated NY brain injury lawyers have the skills and intelligence to recover monetary compensation for your injury. If you or a loved one has been exposed to toxins that resulted in a brain injury or coma, please contact Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, today at (212) 986-7353 to discuss your case.