Exposing Violations of the Clean Air Act
Air pollution is an area of much concern to people throughout the U.S. and worldwide, not just for public health but for reasons of protecting the environment as well. Let’s go back several decades to the industrial town of Donora, Pennsylvania, where a thick cloud of air pollution lingered for five days. 6,000 of the 14,000 townspeople fell ill and 20 lost their lives. This and similar events spurred the creation of state and federal laws to protect the public from the serious health problems caused by air pollutants. The Clean Air Act of 1963 was one of these.
The original Clean Air Act, though well-intentioned, did not result in a strong federal response to regulating air pollution. In 1970 a more comprehensive, updated Clean Air Act was passed by Congress. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created that same year with the primary task of enforcing the Clean Air Act. 30 years later, Congress took another step forward by passing amendments to the Act that dramatically broadened its scope and granted the EPA more power to set and enforce specific air quality standards. Click here to view a Summary of the Clean Air Act.
How does the Clean Air Act affect you? No matter where you live or work in the U.S., you may be at risk of being exposed to air pollutants. These can cause serious health problems such as cancer and respiratory conditions. The primary offenders are chemical plants, utilities and steel mills. The companies that own and operate these facilities are required to comply with the federal Clean Air Act as well as applicable state laws in regard to the amount of air pollutants they create. If they exceed these levels in any way and people are harmed as a result, they may be held liable.
An Environmental Litigation Attorney Can Help
Fighting air pollution is an important part of our firm’s practice. At Napoli Shkolnik PLLC, we have seen just how damaging air pollution can be not only to the environment but to entire communities. Serious and potentially deadly health problems can be caused by air pollutants, including cancer and disorders affecting the respiratory and nervous systems. An environmental litigation attorney at our law firm can provide helpful insight if you believe that you are suffering the ill effects of air pollution. In addition to explaining your legal options to you, we can determine what party or parties may be held accountable. Our experience in various environmental law matters gives us an advantage as we investigate and litigate these cases.
Your initial consultation with a trial lawyer at our firm is free and confidential. Our national headquarters are located in New York City, and we have additional locations in several states. We handle environmental litigation across the country, exclusively representing plaintiffs in these cases.
Air Pollutants Cause Bodily Injury and Property Damage
The EPA regulates six common air pollutants: ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and lead. These pollutants can harm the environment, can cause property damage and can cause such health problems as respiratory disorders, heart disease, lung disease, cancer and premature death. Below you can find a brief description of the health problems that may be attributed to each of the six types of air pollutants regulated by the EPA:
Exposure primarily affects the lungs, causing a decrease in lung function, respiratory problems (coughing, shortness of breath, etc.) and the aggravation of asthma and lung diseases.
Short-term exposure may aggravate lung or heart diseases. Long-term exposure may cause heart or lung diseases. Sources include fuel combustion, agriculture, industrial processes and unpaved roads.
In children, exposure may cause damage to the developing nervous system, impacting learning capabilities, IQ, memory and behavior. In adults, exposure may have cardiovascular and renal (kidney) effects. It may also lead to anemia. Sources of lead include metal refineries, waste incinerators, battery manufacturing and leaded gasoline combustion in certain aircraft.
Exposure may aggravate lung diseases and place the exposed at a greater risk of contracting respiratory infections. Fuel combustion and wood burning are the primary sources of nitrogen oxides.
Exposure aggravates heart disease and reduces the amount of oxygen supplied to the organs and tissues in the body. Fuel combustion, particularly from motor vehicles, is the primary source of carbon monoxide pollutants in the air.
Exposure may aggravate asthma and may contribute to particle formation, with associated health effects. Sources include industrial processes, electric utilities and fuel combustion.
Even if the pollutant that caused your injuries or damage to your property is not included in the list above, you may still have legal options. An attorney at Napoli Shkolnik PLLC can review these with you during a free consultation – contact us today.