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Water Contamination Lawyers

As a consequence of human activity or natural occurrences, water contamination is still a concern nowadays. Despite strict regulations being in place and drinking water undergoing regular testing, contaminants such as microorganisms or chemicals occasionally find their way into community water systems, which may tremendously endanger the health of residents. Our lawyers provide assistance and representation to people injured by contaminated water.

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According to EPA, There Are Four Types of Drinking Water Contaminants

The term contaminant refers to any substance or matter which is hazardous to human health. Water contamination usually affects entire communities and may occur anywhere across the country, from small towns to metropolises. It is worthy of note that the level of harm a water contaminant can cause to the body after ingestion varies greatly. Therefore, while the presence of some contaminants is acceptable in drinking water as long as it remains beyond a certain limit, others are completely forbidden. It is also important to note that contamination does not have the same meaning as pollution. The latter always has a negative connotation, whereas the former does not necessarily pertain to a menacing situation. For instance, when non-toxic minerals such as salt are found in water, contamination is still considered to take place. Consequently, the crux of the matter is what specific contaminant has infiltrated the community water system, as not all of them are dangerous.

According to EPA, there are four types of contaminants which may lurk in drinking water:

  • physical, such as organic material or sediments
  • chemical, which may be natural or artificial, such as heavy metals, pesticides, detergents, or perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
  • biological, also known as pathogens or microbes, such as Salmonella, parasitic worms, or Giardia lamblia
  • radiological, such as plutonium or uranium

One of the most obvious signs that you are drinking contaminated water is turbidity, which occurs when excessive amounts of a foreign substance or matter taints it. Thus, water loses the transparency it naturally has and appears cloudy or smoky (turbid). However, numerous contaminants cannot be seen with the naked eye in water, which is why periodical testing is vital to ensure safety.

The health issues consuming tainted water can result in range from minor, such as nausea and vomiting, to very severe, such as neurological disorders and cancer. Similarly, the period of time during which symptoms or a disease arise varies considerably. Depending on the nature of the contaminant, a person may fall ill within a few days to several years. Asbestos, the naturally occurring mineral notorious for causing mesothelioma, can also contaminate drinking water. Below you can find the most common health effects of each type of water contaminant.


Physical Contaminants

If you consume water from a source containing sediment or sewage which carries pathogens, you may come to experience the symptoms of infection with biological contaminants such as bacteria, viruses, or parasites. However, oftentimes, physical water contaminants are harmless.

Chemical Contaminants

From organic chemicals such as benzene and toluene to inorganic chemicals such as lead and arsenic, this category of water contaminants is known to cause the most harrowing health issues. The problems that exposure to these hazardous substances cause vary to a great extent, some of the most widespread being:

  • high blood pressure
  • intestinal polyps
  • kidney damage
  • dermatitis
  • liver damage
  • thyroid problems
  • delays in physical or mental development
  • hair loss
  • nervous system problems
  • anemia
  • cardiovascular disease
  • various types of cancer
  • adrenal glands problems
  • spleen damage
  • reproductive problems

Biological Contaminants

The majority of biological water contaminants will result in gastrointestinal illness. Infection with a microorganism such as E. coli or Salmonella is associated with the following symptoms:

  • fever
  • diarrhea
  • stomach cramps
  • headache
  • nausea and vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • blood in your stools
  • chills
  • dehydration

Radiological Contaminants

Prolonged exposure to radioactive elements, such as uranium, and radionuclides, such as alpha particles or photon emitters, has been found to cause serious health issues, including:

  • kidney toxicity
  • bone cancer

Which Water Contaminants Are Subject to Legal Recourse?

Since there are certain water contaminants which entail a health threat, you can only take legal action if your case involves a hazardous substance known to cause the disease you came to suffer from. In other words, as long as there is a causal relationship between the agent you were exposed to and your diagnosis, you or – if there are multiple people in your situation – your community can file a lawsuit. However, when excess of harmless contaminants such as fluoride are found in your drinking water, you can rest assured they will have no negative effect on your health. Most physical water contaminants are safe and you should not worry in the event one is detected in your community water system.

On the other hand, if there is a chemical or biological contaminant in your drinking water, it might be a serious cause for concern. The risk of contacting a pathogen or developing a disease increases considerably if you ingest this kind of tainted water. If you find out your community water system contains a biological or chemical contaminant, you should stop drinking from it immediately and seek a temporary alternative water source instead.

While the actual number of biological and chemical water contaminants for which you can take legal action if they caused you severe injury is in the hundreds, the most common include:

Biological Water Contaminants

  • E. coli
  • Salmonella
  • Cryptosporidium
  • Giardia lamblia
  • H. pylori
  • caliciviruses
  • adenoviruses
  • echoviruses
  • coxsackieviruses
  • hepatitis A virus
  • Mycobacterium avium
  • Legionella pneumophila

Chemical Water Contaminants

  • trichloroethylene
  • chromium
  • lead
  • nitrate
  • cobalt
  • arsenic
  • benzene
  • nitroglycerin
  • acetamide
  • chlorate
  • perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
  • methanol
  • formaldehyde
  • alachlor oxanilic acid
  • vanadium

Specializing in Environmental Law, Our Attorneys Will Recover the Compensation You Deserve

If you or multiple members of your community have developed serious health issues as a consequence of drinking contaminated water, we strongly encourage you to take legal action immediately. Not only will it hold the wrongdoer accountable for their negligence or unethical actions, but it will also grant you the financial compensation you are entitled to. With nearly 30 years of experience in handling toxic exposure cases, the resourceful lawyers at Environmental Litigation Group, P.C. will gladly evaluate your case and help you recover fair damages for your injury. For additional information, please contact us at 205.328.9200.

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