During the last administration, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared that chlorpyrifos should be banned do not meet the legal chemical safety standards and proposed a federal ban on the chemical. However, in March 2017, the current presidential administration halted the ban on this dangerous chemical.
Despite numerous petitions to ban the chemical, chlorpyrifos is still widely used. As such, it continues to cause detrimental effects on humans and the environment. Nine states have taken to sue the EPA for failure to ban the chemicals and its negligence to protect children from the harm chlorpyrifos causes, and this case is still pending.
Chlorpyrifos is a potentially dangerous chemical that is also commonly used as a commercial pesticide. It is applied to a variety of crops, including alfalfa, almond, citrus, cotton, grapes, and walnuts. However, the detrimental effect the pesticide has on pests is also taking place on humans. In fact, it is particularly harmful to children and pregnant women. But if chlorpyrifos is such a dangerous chemical, why is it still so commonly used?
Every year, 6 million pounds of the chemical chlorpyrifos are applied to a wide range of crops, including oranges, alfalfa, almonds, and grapes. However, this chemical is potentially very dangerous. When people are hurt, however, who should be held responsible for the damage done by chlorpyrifos?
What is Chlorpyrifos?
Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate insecticide originally introduced by Dow Chemicals in the mid-1960s as an alternative for DDT, another widely used insecticide. Like DDT, chlorpyrifos causes detrimental and life-threatening human and environmental health risks.
Chlorpyrifos is potentially very dangerous. It has been identified as developmental neurotoxins with widespread damaging effects to developing brains and reducing intelligence. It is a chemical that acts on the nervous system as it inhibits the acetylcholinesterase enzyme. It is a colorless or white crystal that has an order similar to rotten eggs or garlic. Ingesting it, getting on your skin or eyes, or just inhaling it are all dangerous ways to come in contact with the chemical.
This agricultural pesticide is one of the most widely-used chemical poisons in the world. It is also one of the most deadly ones, and not just for insects. Chlorpyrifos (CPS) has been conclusively linked to a number of physical and emotional problems in humans. These issues prompted the Environmental Protection Agency to ban the pesticide for home use in 2001. But agricultural use remains widespread, especially in Texas, California, and the Midwest.
Dow Chemical engineers created CPS in 1966. So, Dow Chemical, which has made millions off the sale of this pesticide, is legally responsible for personal injury damages due to the aforementioned issues. Dow Chemical is also responsible for economic losses, as outlined below. Furthermore, because of Dow’s arrogance in continuing to sell an obviously dangerous product, substantial punitive damages might be available as well.
At Williams Hart, our Chlorpyrifos Lorsban toxic tort attorneys have the resources to take on, and prevail against, large multinational corporations like Dow Chemical. Perhaps more importantly, our professional team has the commitment to see your injury claim through to the end. We never take the easy way out. Instead, we fight for you until we obtain the best possible result under the circumstances.
Chlorpyrifos Lorsban Injuries
CPS might be the insecticide which works too well. It cripples the nervous systems of many insects, and it does the same thing to many people. Some CPS poisoning symptoms include:
● Visual impairments,
● Violent seizures,
● Paralysis, and
● Lung failure.
Additionally, CPS has been linked with various neurological issues, especially in children of agricultural workers. Adults often carry Chlorpyrifos dust home on their shoes and clothes. The levels might not be high enough to seriously injure adults, but they are more than high enough to seriously injure children.
On a related note, pregnant women are also greatly at risk. The American Academy of Pediatrics noted that “There is a wealth of science demonstrating the detrimental effects of chlorpyrifos exposure to developing fetuses, infants, children and pregnant women. The risk to infant and children's health and development is unambiguous.”
Chlorpyrifos also kills friendly insects and animals, such as bees and aquatic life. Crustaceans absorb CPS traces directly through water or sediment. As for bees, both direct exposure and ambient exposure increases bee larvae mortality rates by about 500 percent.
As mentioned, Dow Chemical is strictly liable for the aforementioned damages. Victim/plaintiffs need only prove cause. However, in toxic exposure cases, causation is not always easy to prove.
Generally, Houston Chlorpyrifos Lorsban toxic tort lawyers partner with expert witnesses to establish a link between the chemical and the victim/plaintiff’s illness. And, Dow Chemical maintains a stable of experts who invariably testify that the chemical at issue is perfectly safe.
The judge, and then the jury, must determine the credibility of these experts. Before experts can testify before jurors, judges must affirm the following:
● Technique or theory has or can be tested,
● Evidence has been peer reviewed,
● Error rate is known,
● Appropriate control standards were in place during experiments, and
● The technique or theory enjoys widespread acceptance.
This standard effectively excludes novel theories. So, judges often disqualify experts who are on the cutting edge of science.
Furthermore, the expert must be credible with jurors. Many learned professionals have very poor people skills.
Experts must pass both tests. If experts are not legally qualified, Houston Chlorpyrifos Lorsban toxic tort lawyers waste valuable time working with them. And, if the expert is not credible with the jury, the testimony is useless.
Compensatory damages for economic and noneconomic losses are available if the victim/plaintiff establishes this connection by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). So, one solid expert is often sufficient.
The additional punitive damages mentioned above are available if there is clear and convincing evidence that the defendant intentionally disregarded a known risk. That’s a higher standard of proof. Generally, victim/plaintiffs must show defendants knew about the health risks and did nothing to warn customers about the potential danger.
Many CPS cases which are filed in Houston do not go to a Houston courtroom, or even a Texas courtroom. Instead, if there are a large number of similar cases, these matters go to a designated Multidistrict Litigation panel.
These cases are consolidated for pretrial purposes. Generally, a special master who is highly qualified in this area oversees procedural motions and discovery. If the case does not settle, it usually returns to its home jurisdiction for trial.
This process usually benefits victim/plaintiffs. Special masters typically understand the link between the chemical and the illness. Furthermore, different victim/plaintiffs are able to pool their resources. And, when one case settles, that settlement often creates momentum for future settlements.
CPS poisoning victims could be entitled to substantial compensation. For a confidential consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Houston, contact Williams Hart Boundas Easterby LLP. Our office has a home-town feel and nationwide resources.