Toxic Tort Law: A Remedy for the Victims of Toxic Smoke and Other Dangerous Chemicals

poisonBreathing is one of the most fundamental life-sustaining activities and one we typically do with very little forethought.  A fresh breath of air can not only nourish our bodies, but also center our minds.  Yet, far too often, our air is contaminated by a range of different toxins.  Hazardous airborne chemicals, including dangerous substances in the toxic gas released by burning plastics, can be harmful and even deadly.  As an Oakland toxic exposure law firm, the Brod Law firm works to get compensation for people made ill by air that was made toxic by human negligence or even intentional acts.

Safety Concerns Following Fire at Plastics Plant in Newark

There were many people expressing concerns about toxic air following a fire in Newark this past Friday.  SFGate reports that it took fire crews two-and-a-half hours to contain a two-alarm fire at a plastics recycling plant on the 6500 block of Smith Avenue.  According to the report, the plant used to house the Western Pacific Pulp and Paper Company which now subleases the building to AHG Recycling, a company that deals with plastics products.

While no one was hurt in the fire, witnesses could see the dark plume of smoke from miles away.  Newark police advised people to avoid the area and issued a shelter-in-place order for the immediate area in order to limit exposure to the smoke.  The Bay Area Air Quality Management District advised people located downwind to take standard precautions including closing windows and placing air conditioners in recirculate mode.  A spokesperson added that vertical mixing of the air was helping prevent too much of the smoke from remaining at surface levels.

Dangerous Fumes from Burning Plastics and Other Substances

According to, the fumes that are released when plastics burn can be very dangerous because they often contain the residue of powerful solvents used in the manufacturing process.  The fumes released during the burning of PVC plastics are particularly dangerous.  Those fumes tend to contain high levels of dioxin, particulate matter, and other contaminants

Fumes from burning plastics are just one example of the toxic smoke that can be dangerous to human health.  In an article discussing the use of wood-burning stoves, the Environmental Protection Agency warns against burning numerous substances because of the potential for dangerous fumes.  These items include: Household trash (e.g., foam, plastics, items printed with colored ink, etc.); Wood that has been coated, painted, and pressure-treated or wood that has glue on/in it; Particle board; Moldy, wet, or rotting woods; Plastics; Rubber; Animal feces or remains; and Asbestos.  These are only a few of the many items that can release toxic fumes when burned.

A Law Firm Helping Californians Sickened by Toxic Chemicals

When toxic gases or other dangerous chemicals sicken people, the victims may have a claim under an area of the law known as “toxic torts.”  Claims might be filed against the manufacturer that made a dangerous product, an employer that put employee health at risk, a company that improperly stored products raising the risk of a fire, or a range of other potential defendants.  Since chemical fumes often sicken a number of individuals in a single incident, these claims are often amenable to resolution via a class action which allows multiple victims to band together and bring suit collectively.

If you or someone you love has been sickened by toxic smoke or other dangerous chemical fumes in the Northern California area, we can help.  Attorney Greg Brod has experience dealing with the complex issues raised in toxic tort cases.  You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.  Call our toxic exposure law firm in Oakland, San Francisco, or Santa Rosa today.  All offices can be reached by our toll-free number: (800) 427-7020 or via the contact form on this website.

See Related Blog Posts:

San Francisco Toxic Torts Attorney on Recent California Supreme Court Decision

Remembering the Past, Helping Victims, and Preventing Future Tragedies: California Industrial Accident Lawyer on the Danger of Accidents Involving the Oil and Gas Industries

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