Asbestos and toxins can harm tornado volunteers

The attention of the nation has been focused on the injury and death caused by the recent tornados in several cities. However, there may be personal injury cases that result from the aftereffects of these tornados that have not even occurred yet. California and other states are sending hundreds of volunteers to Oklahoma to assist in cleanup efforts, and these volunteers may be exposed to dangerous toxins from rubble caused by the destruction of buildings.

Many buildings that were built years ago contain asbestos, lead paint and other toxic materials. These materials may have been reduced to rubble along with the bricks and wood that make up these buildings, making them indistinguishable to cleanup crews. Asbestos in particular is dangerous, as it can cause a deadly form of cancer known as mesothelioma when it is inhaled in particulate form into the lungs.

Further danger could be posed to residents and volunteers as future storms and winds agitate and blow debris into the air, sending deadly toxins into contact with those in surrounding areas. The Environmental Protection Agency as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency are working to control environmental hazards and safely remove toxic materials. They are urging volunteers to wear protective gear when working as part of the cleanup process.

Victims who have been exposed to dangerous substances due to the negligence of another person or company may be entitled to damages for their injuries and illnesses. A personal injury attorney may represent victims in these cases to help them recover payment for medical bills, lost wages and other costs. Victims may also potentially recover sums for pain and suffering as a result of their injuries.

Source: Mesothelioma.com, “Oklahoma Tornado Destruction Unleashes Potentially Lethal Toxins Including Asbestos into the Environment “, Kristen Griffin, May 24, 2013

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