“Toxic tort” is a general legal term that covers the legal issues surrounding exposure to substances that are inherently toxic and the manufacturers’ liability for damages caused by exposure to the drug.
Exposure to a toxic chemical or substance most often occurs in the workplace, but many Texas workers are unaware that they have been exposed to such a substance. For that reason, this post will enumerate the chemicals that have been proven to be toxic and for which damages have been awarded to persons exposed to the chemicals.
The ABCs of toxic torts
As noted, the term “toxic tort” refers to legal claims by persons who have been injured by exposure to chemicals or substances that are harmful to human beings.
To prevail on a toxic tort claim, the plaintiff must prove exposure to the chemical, the toxicity of the chemical, and the existence of an injury or illness caused by the chemical.
The party who caused the exposure to the chemical is liable for all harm caused by the toxic chemical or substance. Most commonly, this party is the manufacturer of the substance or the plaintiff’s employer.
Examples of toxic torts in Texas
Perhaps the most widely recognized toxic substance is asbestos.
Asbestos causes irritation in the lungs and air passageways, and it often leads to mesothelioma, an incurable and almost always lethal form of cancer.
Lead paint is also high on the list of commonly known toxic substances. The lead in older forms of house paint has been proven to cause brain damage in children who eat chips of the paint.
Many pesticides have been blamed for birth defects. The best-known chemical in this group is DDT. Mercury in drinking water has been blamed for kidney and neurological damage. Municipal water supplies have been found to have arsenic, a poison that causes circulatory problems and many complications for pregnant women and their babies.
Dry cleaning solvents are known to cause brain damage and major organ damage.
An employer’s duty
All Texas employers are required by law to provide information to workers concerning the dangers posed by exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace. Failure to provide such information can lead to legal liability for the employer.