Learning about the Dangers of Nickel Exposure

Humans are fragile beings; they can easily be harmed by dangerous chemicals and substances, which the Earth (their home) teems with. One of these substances is the element nickel. Although valued for its many uses, this metal may also cause deadly environmental diseases. Here are some other things about nickel that you have to know: Continue reading

Environmental Toxicology: Why Hire an Expert Witness

While most jobs are generally safe, a few are more hazardous than the rest. E-waste recycling, sulfur mining, and sanitation are some of the industries which involve jobs that pose some health and safety risks, including the exposure to dangerous substances. In all of these, employers have the responsibility to minimize risks to employees. If a worker gets exposed to hazardous materials and becomes ill and unable to work as a result, he or she can seek justice for it if it can be proven that negligence is involved.

The victim will have to contact a personal injury lawyer. Whether it’s a chemical burn or a radiation exposure, a personal injury lawyer can create an effective strategy to prove to the court that the injury, which has impaired his client, was due to exposure to hazardous substances, caused by another party’s negligence. To do this, the complainant will need the services and testimony of an expert witness specializing in environmental toxicology.

An expert witness has the knowledge the court can rely on for factual evidence on such cases. An environmental toxicologist will make an appropriate expert witness in a case of chemical exposure, as he can show how certain chemicals can affect a person’s health or the environment.

It is crucial for lawyers and paralegals to have a network that can identify expert witnesses in these kinds of cases. The other party may also provide their own expert witness, so it is important to work only with highly-reliable professionals.

Distilling Chemical Evidence

Most people do not completely understand the way poisons, drugs, and other toxic substances interact with living things. As such, when chemical evidence is brought before the courts, a toxicology expert is sometimes necessary to dispense knowledge and distill information about such chemicals so that they can support or rebuff a case.

Toxicology expert witnesses assist in exposing, explaining, and questioning the clues associated with toxic substances. Their typical functions include: Continue reading

Environmental Toxicology Experts Help Prove a Case

When a personal injury lawsuit or a tort case involves the possibility of people being exposed to some harmful and potentially lethal chemicals, lawyers need to call on environmental toxicology experts to help them build their case.

Environmental toxicology experts bank on specialized knowledge acquired through continuing professional education, along with years of invaluable experience. They carefully perform tests and, in much detail, document the methodology employed, as well as the results of it, for the court’s appreciation. An expert toxicologist also appears before a judge or jurors to explain his findings and give an expert opinion regarding the medical and scientific facts and assumptions of a particular case.

One major legal battle that heavily relied on the services of toxicologists is the case of the people of Hinkley versus Pacific Gas and Electric Company, brought to fame by a firm paralegal named Erin Brockovich. That case alleged – and proved through toxicology reports, among others – that PG&E have indeed exposed the Hinkley residents to the pollutant chromium 6. The landmark case landed an enormous $333 million settlement in 1996, and inspired a Hollywood movie starring Julia Roberts. More than that, it highlighted how science and experts were helpful in delivering justice before the court of law.

In any fight for justice that involves hazardous materials, no lawyer or plaintiffs can stand before judge and jury to prove their case without the help of an expert witness. Environmental toxicology experts can be their partners to achieve true justice.

A Look at Drugs in the Bloodstream

Traces of illegal substances found in a person’s blood are often red flags for a person who may be under suspicion by the police. Many illegal substances may be perceived as adding a bigger high to the person when the evidence points at more grim circumstances. It is up to a forensic toxicologist to discover which illegal substances are in a suspect’s bloodstream and how much has been ingested.

Shorties?

Analgesics like morphine can be found in your blood between six to eight hours after ingestion but take up to three days until it exits with the urine. Amphetamines, heroin, and codeine stay in the bloodstream for up to 12 hours and are out with the urine in no more than three days.

Longer Kick

Some drugs take a long time to stay in the blood and even longer to be flushed out in the urine, upping the chances of traces being detected if a suspect underwent a checkup. Crystal meth stays in the blood between 24 hours to 72 hours, depending on the method of administration, while being taken out in the urine in between three to six days. Cannabis takes the longest to leave the system– tetrahydrocannabinol lingers in the blood for two weeks and stays in your urine for the next month.

Determining the drugs found in the bloodstream can work in an investigation. They may even work as evidence for other related drug cases.

On the Difficulty of Toxic Tort Cases

Toxic tort cases are similar to personal injury suits in the sense that victims in both kinds of cases want their defendants to take responsibility for the fate that they suffered. Both legal procedures promise financial compensation if the plaintiffs win their case.

However, the similarity stops there. Personal injury cases deal with accidents that could have been avoided if the defendant had been more careful with his direct actions. For toxic tort cases, a plaintiff’s illness caused by harmful chemicals indirectly administered by the defendant is the usual grounds. Here are some of the most important criteria that have to be proven/rebutted during the proceedings of the case:

Causation

The connection between the plaintiff’s illness and the defendant’s involvement in the entire matter is one of the most difficult facts to connect. Defendants will consistently probe into invalid arguments, and the plaintiffs would have to make a valid connection between the defendants and their illness.

Evidence

Nothing is more vital to a plaintiff’s case than evidence; the sooner it is presented, the better. Witnesses can be hard to track down, and time can easily blur any accounts of an event that happened a long time ago. The existence of hard evidence will help plaintiffs get the reward they deserve.

Understanding Environmental Toxicology

Classified under the broad wing of environmental science, environmental toxicology is a discipline studying the direct and indirect effects of ecological pollution to human life, particularly health. It primarily deals with five sub-fields.


The atmosphere. For the past 40 years, environmental toxicology has focused a huge part of its efforts into studying the interaction of man-made pollutants with the atmosphere, and how such interactions can provoke an torrent of disadvantages to the Earth’s inhabitants.

Water sources. Continuous research was also conducted to determine the possible negative effects of excess, runoff nutrients to water sources throughout the world. Valuable nutrients, while highly beneficial in small amounts, are dangerous when concentrated highly than normal and can even damage an entire aquatic system.

Heavy metals. The Industrial Revolution has spewed out a significant amount of chemical pollution onto the Earth, including toxic metals that may find its way into food and potable water supplies.

DNA mutations. The effect of environmental toxins on living DNA is also examined, in order to determine if mutations can occur upon exposure.

The Big C. The study of the relation between the developments of cancers like leukemia, lung cancer, melanoma, and lymphomas are also covered by environmental toxicology. Environmental toxicologists investigate these incidences and how intensely exposed an individual/groups of cancer patients are to several substances.

Continue reading