Skip to main content
Lawyer Blog: Baltimore, MD

Think Twice About Your Exposure to Pesticides

Maryland Pesticide Injury Attorney

We have told you previously about problems with Roundup, a broad-spectrum herbicide implicated as a risk factor for developing the cancer known as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. But recent harmful incidents involving pesticides have surfaced in which people have sustained permanent damage and disability.

What Are Pesticides?

Pesticides kill many things. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), common pesticides include:

  • Herbicides (kills weeds, like Roundup does)
  • Insecticides (kills insects)
  • Rodenticides (kills rodents like mice and rats)
  • Fungicides (kills fungal outbreaks such as mold).

All of these pesticide varieties carry some form of risk. Traditional farming uses several types of pesticides, which is one big reason that organic farming and food have become popular. But your danger from pesticides can be much bigger than eating non-organic food. It can be as close as the company which treats your home for roaches or termites, or as close as the bottle of “cide” you purchase at a big-box store.

The list is long when it comes to the active ingredients—the poisons—in these products. Some general classes of ingredients include:

  • Organochlorines
  • Organophosphates
  • Pyrethrin and pyrethroids
  • Carbamates
  • These have been associated with some of the honeybee deaths.

What Harm Can Pesticides Cause?

In humans, and in mammals such as the family cat or dog, the damage that pesticides can wreak is wide-ranging:

  • Death
  • Liver damage and hepatitis caused by toxic exposure
  • Lung damage
  • Various cancers, including leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, brain, bone, and reproductive cancers
  • Cancers and lower IQ in children
  • Nervous system damage. Many pesticides work by interfering with the normal activity of the nervous system.
  • Reproductive system damage such as to the hormonal system, along with possible sterility, miscarriages, and birth defects, are severe issues where consulting a Baltimore birth injury lawyer can be crucial in seeking justice and understanding legal rights.

Poisoning, and a slow death, by pesticides is quite painful.

Symptoms of pesticide poisoning to watch out for include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Wheezing or trouble breathing
  • Convulsions
  • Muscle weakness (may proceed to paralysis)
  • Loss of consciousness or coma.

If you have recently used or applied a pesticide, seek medical help should you develop symptoms soon afterwards.

Recent Stories and Cases

Pesticide poisoning can result in some incredibly tragic situations. In January, 2017, four children died, with their mother in critical condition for days, after water was sprayed on a commercial pesticide that was applied under their home. Doing so created toxic phosphine gas from the pesticide’s active ingredient aluminum phosphide. Five others were also hospitalized in the Amarillo, Texas, incident, and several first responders went to the hospital for treatment.

In 2015, 82 exposures to aluminum phosphide resulted in two deaths, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. The EPA classifies aluminum phosphide in its Toxicity Category I, the most toxic category the agency uses. Breathing the gas, the method by which the Amarillo family was poisoned, is an example of what the EPA calls “acute effects via the inhalation route.”

You aren’t safe while on vacation, either. In August, 2016, the parent corporation of Terminix agreed to an $87 million settlement with a Delaware family who was poisoned on a US Virgin Islands vacation because of a banned pesticide, methyl bromide, which was used by the company. The chemical was banned for residential usage over thirty years ago, in 1984. Yet methyl bromide was applied to the vacation property in which the family was staying. Documents from the court show that Terminix “knowingly” applied methyl bromide to the property not once, but twice. The company is also supposed to pay $10 million in criminal fines for their actions.

Almost two years later, the father is still paralyzed and unable to speak. The mother has improved a bit, enabling her to care for their two sons, who are still barely able to move, as well as her husband. Lifelong effects resulting from the poisoning is considered a possible outcome.

If you have experienced physical damage or harm, including being diagnosed with cancer, and you believe it may have been caused by exposure to pesticides, then you may have the grounds for a lawsuit. The same applies if a loved one has recently passed away as a result of one of these diseases. It is possible that you could receive compensation for your damages, including medical treatments, pain and suffering, and the like. Do not put off setting up a case evaluation as state statutes of limitation (deadlines) do apply.

The Injury Lawyer: Experienced and Compassionate Legal Assistance

The Law Office of Steven H. Heisler  is currently taking on cases related to pesticides. If you believe you or a loved one may fall into this category, we encourage you to set up an appointment with our legal team today so we can begin gathering the details of your case for review and provide you with legal guidance. We will work to protect your rights and keep your best interests in mind as we seek damages from the responsible parties in your case. Call  the Law Office of The Injury Lawyer, Steven H. Heisler,  today for a free initial consultation about whether you have a case. Call (410) 625-4878, or use our online contact form.