Often, legislatures are tasked with resolving complex dilemmas, including deciding if preventing one danger is worth raising the risk of another. One place this paradox arises is in the use of flame retardants in everything from Halloween costumes to living-room couches. While preventing fires is an important goal, many flame retardants have dangerous health consequences. Our Panama City toxic exposure lawyer understands this danger poses a particular threat to pregnant women and their developing fetuses. In many cases, this risk of pre-natal toxic exposure outweighs the benefits, leading our firm to advocate for discontinuing the use of the chemicals and to represent those impacted by the dangerous substances in Northwest Florida.
A study published in 2010, inspired by concerns following the September 11th attacks, focused on polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), a commonly-used group of flame retardant compounds. Published in the US National Library of Medicine for the National Institutes of Health, the study looked at the relationship between the concentrations of PBDEs in infant cord-blood and developmental tests performed between ages 12 and 72 months. Although the researchers call for further study, they report finding that higher concentrations of the chemicals correlated with lower scored on both physical and mental development.
Looking at the example of PDBEs, one of the important questions, especially given that there are useful properties to the chemicals, is whether a ban would be effective. California's experience, detailed in the Oakland Tribune, suggests it would. At one point, California's children and pregnant women had higher levels of PBDEs that peers in Europe and in other U.S. states. This may have been influenced by strict rules on furniture flammability that led manufacturers to douse products in flame retardant chemicals. However, health concerns grew and, 10 years ago, the state banned the use of dangerous chemicals for fire retardant purposes, including a specific ban on two main forms of PBDEs enacted in 2003. Recently, the ban proved its worth - between 2008 and 2012, pregnant women's blood levels of PBDEs dropped by two-thirds.
Safety must involve a balance. We encourage manufacturers and legislatures to consider this balance and pass laws that keep our communities from exposure to dangerous toxins, even those that come disguised as safety-oriented products. Such rules would encourage the continued development of safer alternatives for important goals like fire prevention. When this is not done, when unacceptable risks are taken at the expense of health, particularly at the expense of prenatal health, litigation comes into play. Litigation can help families obtain the money, including funds they will need as they raise a child who may face a lifetime of health problems stemming from prenatal exposure to dangerous toxins.
As a Panama City chemical exposure attorney, Wes Pittman can help represent those injured by dangerous toxins and assist them in recovering monetary compensation for their injuries/illnesses. His experience protecting Floridians from dangerous substances includes serving as an attorney for individual and class action plaintiffs. Attorney Pittman's work on a major case against a manufacturer of a nutritional supplement is just one example of his experience addressing injuries stemming from hazardous products disguised as beneficial substances. Call to schedule a no-cost consultation.