Although not specifically about birth defects, the issue of young children's exposure to toxins is a significant one. Recent reports have underscored the importance of limiting a child's exposure for the sake of improving the child's health and mental capabilities.
One such report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found that the median concentration of lead in the blood of those between the ages of one and five years old was 92% lower in 2009 and 2010 than it was in 1976 through 1980. The median level of cotinine (a sign of exposure to tobacco smoke) also declined by 88% in 2009 and 2010 for children between the ages of three and 17, compared to the levels in 1988 through 1991. Finally, the number of children living in areas where pollution was greater than one measure of the national standard decreased from 75% to 59% between 1999 and 2009. At the same time, the number of children with asthma increased from 8.7% in 2001 to 9.6% in 2010. The report also showed that certain air pollutants could trigger reactions in children with asthma.
Meanwhile, another report issued by the non-profit Health Child Healthy World noted that over the past 30 years, child leukemia has risen 60%, brain cancer in children is up 40%, obesity has doubled, asthma and autism are increasing, and birth defects have risen 200%. The organization lists the probable causes of these health issues, including dioxane, a chemical found in shampoo; benzene, used in paints and plastics; and bisphenol A (BPA). All of these are considered to be human carcinogens and extremely harmful.
While these reports mainly focus on the toxins' health effects on children already born, as the Health Child report notes, the toxins can also result in a higher rate of birth defects. If your child has a birth defect that you believe is due to your exposure to environmental toxins while pregnant, you have the option of filing a toxic tort or product liability lawsuit. You would file a toxic tort lawsuit if the potential offender were a power plant, or another entity responsible for releasing toxins into the air and water. A product liability lawsuit, on the other hand, would be more appropriate if you believed that the offender was the manufacturer of a product, such as cleaning products or a food product with BPA packaging. In both cases, the most difficult part of your case would be providing enough evidence that that specific offender, and not some other source, was the cause of your child's birth defect. In some cases, it may be all but impossible to sue the specific source of the birth defect, such as if the "source" were really countless cars along the nearby freeway. If so, you might consider suing the entity responsible for regulating emissions from those sources, such as a state or federal environmental agency.
The birth defect attorneys at Oshman & Mirisola, LLP have successfully represented clients in birth defect lawsuits for more than 35 years. If your child suffers from a birth defect that you believe could be due to your being exposed to harmful chemicals while pregnant, please contact us today by calling (800) 400-8182, or submit our online Contact Us form.