Water contamination is a serious environmental issue in the United States and across the globe. The quality of our water might be improving through advancements in purification, but there remain serious issues that should be addressed. While the government has taken steps to address long-standing contamination like chemical spills or sewage, new issues like microplastics require a new approach.
The unfortunate reality is that more than 7 million people become ill due to contaminated water each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). When your water is contaminated, it is possible that a company or governing entity is at fault. A water contamination lawyer can help victims pursue compensation for illnesses they incurred from their water.
Health Consequences Resulting from Water Contamination
The issue of water quality is important given the severe health consequences that can come with exposure to contamination. The specific contaminant that a person is exposed to will play a major part in determining what health risks they face.
Germs and Bacteria
Many of the risks associated with contaminated water are due to the spread of disease through germs and bacteria. Common examples of water-borne illnesses include:
- Norovirus Infection
- Legionnaire’s disease
Other health risks are linked to contamination by chemicals. Water that is contaminated with substances like radon, lead, or copper could result in a host of medical conditions. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), some health conditions associated with chemical exposure include:
- Nervous system damage
- Organ damage
- Developmental disability
- Reproductive effects
Those who suffer health effects from contaminated water may be eligible to pursue legal action and secure compensation for their losses.
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Past Contamination Impacts Current Health
There is no doubt that issues surrounding water contamination have improved in recent years. Since the 1970s, the EPA has enforced clean water standards on the vast majority of public drinking water sources. Those laws were amended in the 80s and again in the 90s to provide the EPA with additional enforcement power. Despite these improvements, water contamination is still an issue.
What’s more, past contamination still has lasting effects today. There are countless people that were exposed to contaminated water years ago that are living with disabling health conditions, not to mention the birth defects that followed that exposure.
In some cases, pursuing a civil lawsuit can be an option for those exposed to contaminated water, even if the exposure is outside of the normal statute of limitations.
Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune
In recent years, the government has amended federal law to allow veterans that were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune to pursue a lawsuit for damages. This is true even though that exposure could have occurred more than 50 years ago. A Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyer could advise when compensation might be an option.
Common Types of Water Contamination
There are many different substances that have been known to contaminate drinking water. Some of these substances—like toxic waste—have been an issue for years. Other contaminants have only recently become a known issue.
Sewage and wastewater are some of the oldest contaminants that have been found in drinking water. While the EPA aggressively regulates sewage in the United States, other parts of the world face extensive issues with this type of contamination. The spread of disease is common when drinking water that is contaminated with wastewater or sewage.
Agriculture is one of the major polluters in the U.S., particularly when it comes to rivers and streams. Given that the agricultural industry is responsible for the majority of U.S. water usage, it should come as no surprise the industry is also responsible for large amounts of wastewater.
The agricultural industry uses an array of toxins designed to kill pests. In addition to pesticides, the wastewater from these agricultural operations often includes high levels of nitrogen or phosphorous. These high levels can encourage the growth of algae blooms in waterways that can have harmful effects, according to the EPA. In some cases, the growth of algae can result in toxins that harm fish, marine mammals, and even humans.
One of the more recent threats to our water is microplastics. These tiny bits of plastic have become a major issue given how difficult they are to identify. While invisible to the naked eye, consuming these microplastics can lead to health issues like inflammatory reactions or metabolic disorders.
Talk to an Attorney About Your Health Conditions Caused by Water Contamination
If you are living with health issues due to your exposure to contaminated water, you deserve to be compensated. It is worth learning more about your legal options even in cases where your exposure to contaminated water occurred years ago. Our firm is ready to help you understand your legal options and advise you on the best steps forward.
The team at Ben Crump Law, PLLC is proud to serve as advocates in these cases. We understand the life-changing consequences that can come with exposure to contaminated water. Water contamination is a serious environmental issue, and consequently, it can be a serious issue for your health too. Reach out for a free consultation to learn how our firm could help.