Arsenic is a chemical that can be found in different forms and can cause injuries or even death if a high level is ingested. Low levels of arsenic can be found in groundwater, soil and the air because it is naturally occuring. Because of this, some food or drinks may contain low levels of arsenic.
This will not likely cause any damage to people who consume these food and drinks because of the low levels, however, long time ingestion to lower levels of arsenic and exposure to a substance containing higher levels of arsenic still have the potential to cause mild to serious injuries.
Arsenic can be more harmful in products that contain higher levels, such as insecticides and pesticides. Drinking contaminated groundwater that has higher levels of arsenic is also dangerous and can cause arsenic poisoning. Drinking filtered water can help to avoid this risk.
Symptoms of arsenic poisoning can be short-lived or long-term, depending on the level of arsenic ingested and how long you were exposed to the arsenic. However, keep in mind that if you ingest very low levels of arsenic or arsenic in a less toxic form, you may not experience any symptoms at all.
The range of symptoms and related conditions resulting from arsenic poisoning are wide and can include any of the following:
- Abdominal pain;
- Burning feeling in the throat and mouth;
- Renal failure;
- Skin cancer;
- Lung cancer;
- Kidney cancer; and
Additionally, individuals who are pregnant and experience arsenic poisoning are at high risk for birth defects or in serious cases, infant death.
Arsenic poisoning can be diagnosed by several tests, including those based off of your urine, blood, hair and fingernails. The most reliable test to diagnose immediate poisoning is the urine test, as long as it is taken one to two days after the exposure. Hair and fingernail tests are good indicators of long-term arsenic exposure.
Your likelihood of exposure to arsenic depends on a variety of factors impacting your everyday life, such as employment and environment. Arsenic is widely used by many companies. As such, working for a company that uses arsenic can increase your chance of exposure. Industries where arsenic is commonly used include glass production, smelting, wood treatment, insecticides and pesticides. If you work a job where you might be exposed to arsenic and experience any of the symptoms or conditions listed above, you should seek medical attention to get the appropriate testing done to determine if you are experiencing arsenic poisoning.
Keep in mind that arsenic can leave the human body in a few days. So if you are no longer near the source of exposure, like your work, and are taking some sick leave to recover, be sure to get tested during this time period in order to verify that you are suffering from arsenic poisoning. Otherwise, be sure that your hair and fingernails are tested for arsenic, as they can reflect high levels of exposure in the past year.
An individual who suffers harm due to toxic arsenic exposure can sue the party who is responsible for exposing them to arsenic. This sort of lawsuit is normally based on negligence, as the average defendant does not intentionally expose the average plaintiff to arsenic or other poisons.
If you have been exposed to arsenic while on the job, the target defendant would be your employer. Your damages could possibly include any money you spent on medical treatment or lost hours at work that resulted from your condition.
Another potential lawsuit could be based on product liability. This type of lawsuit would be proper if a manufacturer sold products (most likely a food or drink item) with unsafe levels of arsenic in them that caused consumers some type of harm.
You could argue that the products were unsafe for consumption and should not have been approved for sale. You could also argue that the manufacturer failed to warn consumers of the dangerous arsenic levels present in the product and about the risk of injury after someone consumes the product.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also regulates the amount of arsenic that is allowed to be present in drinking water. The EPA is a federal agency that promotes, regulates, monitors and enforces environmental protection. Both the EPA and corresponding state agencies have the power to monitor and enforce compliance with the rules relating to arsenic in order to ensure that safe drinking water is available to the public.
Arsenic poisoning is an incredibly dangerous risk that no one should have to face without adequate compensation. If you have suffered from arsenic poisoning, you should contact a personal injury attorney to understand more about how to proceed with a lawsuit against anyone who may have put you at risk for exposure to the arsenic that ultimately led to your injuries.
An attorney can also help you determine if you have a case and decide who should be named as defendants in the lawsuit. After the case if filed, an attorney can try to negotiate a settlement on your behalf that compensates you for the injuries you suffered. If the case does not settle, an attorney can represent your interests at trial.