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Toxic neighbors: Filing a claim after suffering from exposure

You have been living near a factory for some time, but you've recently realized that much of its waste seems to be emptying into your local creek. Although you believe the materials probably went through filtering, the people in your area have been coming down with unusual illnesses.

One of the potential causes for those illnesses is toxic exposure. If you are exposed to toxic waste or hazardous chemicals seeping into your water supply or infecting your land, that's a serious problem that could cause severe injuries or death.

There are a number of ways you can be affected by toxic chemicals. The first is by breathing the fumes. Maybe the filter at the factory isn't working well, so the fumes have entered your community and are slowly poisoning your air.

Another possibility is ingesting the toxins. If the creek above is carrying toxins, swimming in it or using its water could lead to exposure. Even plants that you eat may carry harmful chemical residues.

The third possibility is skin contact. Touching anything that has chemicals on it can lead to infection, which may make you sick. You may even ingest the materials if you put your hands in your mouth or eat without washing your hands.

How do you know if you'll suffer serious illnesses from exposure?

The main way is to know the kind of chemical you've been exposed to and to know the dosage you've been exposed to. After that, you'll want to find out how long you've been exposed to the chemical and how many times you were exposed, if you can.

Those who have been exposed over time and in large doses are likely to suffer severely, but there are cases when even a small amount of exposure can be life-threatening.

It's also important to understand that not all people react to chemical exposures in the same way. While you may fall ill with flu-like symptoms, someone else might develop cancer while another has no symptoms at all.

The Environmental Protection Agency does have legally enforceable limits on contaminants. If a business does not take these limits seriously, it risks poisoning the people living around its facility. If that happens to you, you can file a lawsuit against the company for its negligence. Your attorney can help you collect the information you need to begin your case. You should start your claim as soon as possible, so you don't run out of time.

Source: Nov. 30, -0001

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