Five companies in New England faced legal trouble when they were found to be in violation of federal regulations designed to prevent the occurrence of chemical accidents. The companies have now settled with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As part of the settlement, the companies will need to be more careful about the way in which they deal with chemicals and the risks of exposure.
Unfortunately, two of the companies that endangered the public were located within the state of Massachusetts.
When a company releases chemicals against safety guidelines, nearby residents can be adversely affected. The chemicals could make people sick, causing a host of problems including an increased risk of cancer or birth defects. Unfortunately, victims could have a hard time recovering compensation for the illnesses caused by the exposure since many medical problems due to toxins do not develop for months or even years after the initial chemical exposure occurred. An excperienced injury law firm in Massachusetts can help victims to pursue a claim for damages if they were made ill after exposure to hazardous chemicals. Your attorney will work to make a strong case and overcome problems with proving causation in toxic tort claims.
Massachusetts Companies Endanger Others
According to Insurance News Net, all five of the companies that recently settled with the EPA were charged with violating provisions of the Clean Air Act that require mandatory disclosure when hazardous substances are intentionally released. These hazardous chemicals can include substances like hydrochloric acid, chlorine, sulfur dioxide and ammonia.
Some of the companies also faced additional charges. For example several of the five were also charged with:
- Violating community right-to-know requirements designed to ensure neighbors had information about hazardous chemicals nearby.
- Failing to notify the National Response Center about a ruptured tank that caused sodium hypochlorite to spill out near the Merrimack River in New Hampshire.
When left uniformed about the fact that a hazardous chemical may have been released near their homes or into their water supply, residents near these companies had no chance to do anything to protect themselves.
Unfortunately, while the companies are settling with the EPA, it seems that the fines and penalties may not be sufficient to actually deter wrongful behavior and encourage the companies to do better in the future. The companies will pay penalties ranging from slightly more than $5,600 to more than $85,000 for violations of anti-pollution laws.
Even the larger fines may not actually be that substantial for large companies while the small fines may far too small to provide any actual incentive at all for the company take any type of costly measure to make sure that chemicals are more secure and less likely to leak out to the public.
Call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — (617) 777-7777.
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Nursing Home Neglect: Patients Victimized By Medication Errors, Boston Personal Injury Attorney Blog, March 19, 2014.