Birth Defects and Chemicals

While an embryo may die thanks to chemical exposure and end in a miscarriage, a developing fetus will survive but can suffer altered DNA that leads to malformations, deformities, retardation, and birth defects - lifetime serious personal injuries which will and will are avoided.

While an embryo may die thanks to chemical exposure and end in a miscarriage, a developing fetus will survive but can suffer altered DNA that leads to malformations, deformities, retardation, and birth defects - lifetime serious personal injuries which will and will are avoided. 

It is not as if scientists haven't known that dangerous chemicals cause birth defects or only learned that fact recently.

Chemical manufacturers for many years didn't report all known risks of chemical exposure, counting on the weakest reports assuring the safety, to avoid loss of sales.

The same chemical suppliers that find themselves defendants in cancer cases also are defendants in congenital anomaly cases because chemicals that cause mutations upset DNA. Mutagens are carcinogens and teratogens. equivalent chemicals that cause cancer also are liable for birth defects.

Manufacturers are held liable for birth defects because of failing to warn, but they need successfully provided themselves with a handmaiden in their defense referred to as the American Conference of commercial Hygienists. it's largely an industry dominated organization that has set exposure levels for workers to stop acute, i.e. immediate adverse physical reactions. Unfortunately, OSHA has adopted these weak standards. The result's that when chemical companies are sued for birth defects their chief defense is "we have done all that we are required to do" and therefore the pregnant mother's exposures were within the amount allowed by law. 

But it doesn't end there. 

Proposition 65 was adopted by California voters demanding a healthy and clean environment. As a result, the State of California sets health-based environmental exposure limits for specific chemicals in air and water. 

The maximum concentrations aren't allowed to cause quite one additional cancer per million people exposed to the chemical over their lifetime. 

California has very stringent public health standards. 

OSHA, on the opposite hand, allows manufacturers and employers to show workers to levels of chemicals that are thousands of times above the health levels set by Cal EPA. 

Methylene chloride, benzene, epichlorohydrin, trichloroethylene, and perchloroethylene are utilized in industry for years. Toxicologists confirm that these chemicals are known carcinogens. 

The difference in how these chemicals are regulated by environmental and health laws and OSHA is astounding.

Under environmental regulations, the utmost concentration of dichloromethane which will be discharged to the air, if converted to what's known in the industry as an "8-hour time-weighted average," is .001 parts per million [ppm].

Under OSHA rules the "allowable" level of exposure for dichloromethane is 25 ppm, which is 25,000 times greater than the health standard.

For benzene, the OSHA level is 1 ppm, albeit the health standard is 1 part per billion [ppb]. The OSHA standard is 1,000 times greater.

Health regulations allow exposures to epichlorohydrin of 0.001 ppm, while OSHA allows 2 ppm, which is 2,000 times greater.

The maximum concentration of trichloroethylene under health standards is 0.007 ppm or 7 ppb. But the OSHA level for TCE is 25 ppm. That's 3,571 times higher.

OSHA levels for perchloroethylene are 25 ppm, but under health regulations, the allowable limit is 0.003 ppm. The OSHA limit is 8,333 times greater.

On a day-to-day basis, workers are exposed to high levels of dangerous chemicals, which are thousands of times stronger than levels allowed by public health laws. As outrageous because it is, it's legal.

Employers don't be concerned because they can't be sued. Workers are relegated to filing claims with the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board for "benefits" [an oxymoron] that are extremely limited.

Unborn children exposed to chemicals during pregnancy aren't forced into the WCAB system because they're not employees. Children are entitled to full constitutional protections against a parent's employer for the injuries suffered within the womb. 

In most states, the deadline for bringing a suit doesn't start to run until an individual becomes an adult on their 18th birthday. Usually, two years is allowed or before the 20th birthday, apart from Tennessee that features a one-year deadline.

Most states recognize "delayed discovery." This discovery rule provides that the statute of limitations period starts to run when an injured person has, or should reasonably have, knowledge s/he has suffered the injury. 

Not all claims of delayed discovery are successful. So, filing before an injured person's 20th birthday stops a chemical company from raising a statute of limitations defense or attacking a delayed discovery claim.

As a practical matter, because it's necessary to spot the manufacturers of chemicals causing injury and to prove the extent of exposure, mothers who worked chemically during pregnancy should promptly take action before valuable co-workers can not be found to testify in their support.