There are many environmental hazards that we face as residents of an industrialized nation. Asbestos, a fiber found in the insulation of many buildings that is known to cause mesothelioma, is just one of the many toxic substances communities must deal with. Though there has been vast research into the effects of high levels of single contaminants, scientists are now concerned with what exposure to lower levels of a variety of contaminants can do over time. Assessing a community’s exposome, a cumulative reporting of all the exposures an individual faces during their lifetime, can determine what kind of risks residents may be facing.
Current methodology for assessing a population’s risk involves focusing on one pollutant at a time and examining its dangers in isolation. However, in real-world situations, most people are exposed to chemicals from multiple sources. The mere act of eating and drinking exposes people to chemical substances, some more harmful than others. Many also encounter chemicals in the workplace or in other activities. Community officials can help residents stay healthy by learning to assess risks and taking proactive steps to avoid the dangers of pollutants.
Southeastern Pennsylvania Communities Working to Address Environmental Threats
That is precisely what the Community Outreach and Engagement Core for Penn’s Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology is trying to do. The group has engaged with the communities of Chester and Eastwick to form a complete picture of residents’ exposome. Residents of Eastwick must contend with an airport, highway, and refinery nearby, all emitting pollutants into the air. The region is known to have a high level of ozone, and while levels of polyaromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) – a class of chemicals released by combustion sources and un-combusted oils – are technically compliant with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards, they may be causing serious health problems when combined with other airborne toxins.
The environmental impact of industrialization has been a concern for Chester residents for decades. As more companies moved into the area during the 1990s, the Chester Residents Concerned for Quality Living sued the Department of Environmental Protection to prevent more licenses from being granted to potential polluters. Permit standards must be set with the cumulative impact of all pollution sources in mind in order to protect the community.
Exposome Assessment Helps Communities Avoid Unnecessary Risks
Understanding the risks of known contaminants and how they might interact with one another is key to protecting community health. The team at Penn is helping communities to make these assessments and determine the best approach to limit exposure. Policy changes such as adjusting permit standards and changing zoning can help to restrict the number of exposure sources, as can decreasing traffic from vehicles such as older diesel trucks with heavy emissions. Warning community members to limit outdoor activity on poor air quality days can also reduce negative health impacts such as asthma.
It is up to regulators, residents, and healthcare providers to work together to combat the collective impact of environmental threats. Some, such as asbestos, can have devastating health effects, including respiratory conditions that are very difficult to treat. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or other disease related to toxic exposure, you may be entitled to compensation.
Philadelphia Asbestos Lawyers at Shein Law Advocate for Victims of Toxic Exposure
Philadelphia asbestos lawyers at Shein Law have the knowledge and experience to get you the compensation you deserve for your suffering. We will thoroughly review the facts of your case to determine who is at fault for your chemical exposure and hold that party accountable for their negligence. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we help exposure victims throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call us today at 1-877-SHEINLAW (743-4652) or contact us online to review your case with a dedicated Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyer.