Burn Injury - Chemical Burns
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) both on the federal level and the state of Illinois are responsible for protecting human health and the environment. The federal EPA was established in 1970 for creating and then enforcing national standards under a variety of environmental laws that are in concert with state and local governments. The creation of the agency led to the enactment of different federal laws on standards for storing, shipping and the disposal of hazardous chemicals and wastes. There is also law on the manufacture of hazardous chemicals.
The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) enacted in 1976 for regulating new chemicals allows the EPA the authority to require reporting, testing and recordkeeping of chemicals substances used in an industry.
Generally, chemicals that are used in the United States are often treated as harmless but still shown to be hazardous, dangerous or poisonous. A chemical maker does not have to prove that the chemical it manufactures is safe. There are tens of thousands of chemicals that are already in use now that have been approved by or passed by the TSCA.
Too often hazardous chemicals get into Illinois waterways or in the air that can cause injuries to Illinois residents. Some of these injuries causes burns, lung injuries and can be fatal. When spills occur like those that have happened throughout the United States, chemicals are able to affect humans and environmental health. Tanker spills, oil spills, chemical spills that include acidic products are hazardous, dangerous and are contaminants.
If humans are exposed to chemicals that burn, injuries do occur. Burns are commonplace particularly because of exposure to acids, bases and hydrocarbons.
As far as chemical releases, it was estimated that as much as 10,000 gallons of hazardous substances was spilled into West Virginia’s Elk River. The drinking water for most of the state capitol Charleston, West Virginia and nine surrounding counties was contaminated as a result. The contamination of the drinking water was extremely dangerous to those in that area.
Chemical burns can range from severe to benign. Treatment of chemical burns should be flushed with water in large volumes so that the chemical that is exposed to the skin is diluted. If the chemical is one that burns through the skin, paramedics should be called immediately for medical attention. Chemical burns to the eye are also very dangerous. They can cause vision damage or blindness. Again, water to the eye to flush out or dilute the chemical is important; otherwise immediate medical attention is necessary.
Chemical burns are caused by products that contain acids, bases and hydrocarbons. These corrosive agents are found in the workplace. Sometimes acids, bases and other forms of chemicals are absorbed into the body through skin or by breathing vapors. Acids, like industrial-strength cleaners are what are known as oxidizing agents. Bases or alkalis are most commonly in the form of lime, potassium hydroxide, and household cleaning agents like ammonia or cement. Bases like these can be very harmful because of the way they react to the tissues in our bodies that cause chemical burns. Bases essentially can liquefy our skin. Acids act in much the same way by changing the tissue structure of our skin or lungs if breathed in. Hydrocarbons such as gasoline or solvents are toxic and kill cells when in contact. When these harmful chemicals are gaseous, the inhaling can directly injure the lungs and cause serious impairment to the respiratory system. Some airborne chemicals are so dangerous that they have been known to cause myocardial depression or where the heart stops pumping blood sufficiently to oxygenate the body.
No matter how big or small the area affected is, a chemical burn is a serious injury to be treated immediately. If the body has been exposed to chemical it is critical that the area affected be flushed with a large amount of fresh water. This will act to dilute the chemical that has made contact with the body. Chemical burns to the eye require immediate flushing as well because of the risk of sight impairment or vision loss from the contact. Naturally emergency help should be contacted whenever you or someone you know, whether at work or at home has been exposed to a corrosive chemical solution.
If you or someone you know has been injured or died as a result of a chemical burn, please call us for an immediate free consultation. Robert Kreisman of Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Chicago and Illinois chemical burn injury cases for more than 40 years.
With our years of experience in trying and settling chemical burn cases, Kreisman Law Offices provides the best possible services to our clients. Our service is unmatched. Please call us 24 hours a day at 312.346.0045 or toll free 800.583.8002 for a free and immediate consultation, or complete a contact form online. There is no charge for a consultation that will include an evaluation of your case.