Hartford schools confirm that exposure to PCB could be the reason for cancer in their former students. PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) are man-made chemicals present in building materials, including old fluorescent light ballasts, paint, and even caulking. It is also present in old industrial devices, like the transformers that are pad-mounted or are on utility poles.
When materials that contain PCB are disturbed, they can get dissolved into the air, any external surface, and also your skin. They can get absorbed into the air by simply evaporating from the material that has PCB.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, PCB is labeled as a human carcinogen. Even the National Toxicology Program states that PCBs come with a cancer risk in humans. Various studies have also found PCBs can increase the risk of liver cancer, melanomas, biliary tract cancer, brain cancer, gallbladder cancer, gastrointestinal tract cancer, and breast cancer.
In this article, we will shed light on how Hartford asserts PCB exposure is the cause of cancer in some students and file a lawsuit for the same to get compensated for the suffering.
Hartford City Files Lawsuit Against PCB Manufacturer
In May 2023, CT Insider reported that Hartford City had closed all its schools once they found out the presence of PCBs in the building. The district has also filed a PCB exposure lawsuit against Monsanto, the manufacturer of PCB used in the products during school construction. According to the court documents, the buildings recorded high levels of PCBs when the school closed.
Going forward, Hartford Public Schools has declared to every family that their staff and students at Clark Elementary School will get relocated during a medical test. The district also provided adequate resources and contact details for the Connecticut Department of Public Health personnel for families to ask any questions regarding PCBs. Additionally, the district arranged family meetings to allow the concerned community members to get in touch with the earlier superintendent and other staff.
The lawsuit is still pending in court to date. As a response to that, Monsanto filed a motion for a summary judgment against Hartford City, which is also pending at the Federal District Court in Connecticut.
Bayer, who acquired Monsanto in 2018, revealed in a statement that they believe all the legal claims put forward by the city lack evidence and merit. It is because various local, state, and federal government agencies have found that PCB levels found at Clark School didn’t pose any health risk.
Today, Clark is right at the center of the lawsuit, with Hartford school officials stating that their staff and students might have been exposed to hazardous PCB toxins. Their belief was supported by real-life evidence of students developing cancer.
For instance, Latoya Coombs, a student, claimed to have been diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer, which is a very aggressive form of breast cancer. Additionally, she started to notice that a few other classmates were developing cancer along with her.
The schools in Hartford City are one such incident where PCB exposure has resulted in students developing fatal cancers. The same can take place in any other place, and therefore, people need to be aware of the health problems linked to this chemical.
The Health Hazards of PCB Exposure
When PCBs get absorbed in the human body, they move to the cell membranes, blood vessels, and finally to the lymphatic system. Studies show that the maximum level of this chemical is found in the skin, fatty tissue, liver, and brain. In women who are pregnant, the chemical can pass into the placenta, umbilical cord, and breast milk.
In humans, PCBs get changed into substances that gather in certain tissues and body fluids. It might also be changed to various other substances that enable them to be excreted through feces and urine.
However, some of the side effects of PCB exposure in humans include:
- Respiratory problems
- Liver damage
- Reproductive issues
- A compromised immune system
- Endocrine disruption
- Neurological and developmental effects
It is necessary to take note of these symptoms and get the desired medical treatment so that the health issues don’t go out of hand.
Filing a Lawsuit for PCB Exposure
You could develop health hazards related to PCB while working at an office or visiting a public property for a few hours. If you have suffered after getting exposed to this chemical, you can file a lawsuit and claim compensation to cover the damages you have incurred.
TorHoerman Law states that a lawyer can enable you to file your lawsuit correctly and present your case in court to get fair compensation for you. Victims need to gather evidence before they visit a lawyer. This evidence includes medical records, school records, employment records, residential data, and any other proof that establishes the PCB exposure.
People can get exposed to PCBs by attending a particular school or office or even by visiting an old building that might have high levels of this chemical. Sometimes, the chemical gets into the body through food as well. It is, therefore, necessary to keep the symptoms in mind and get yourself medically checked to ensure that PCB is the root cause of your ailment. Once that gets done, you can seek legal assistance.