People experience toxic substance exposure due to many different reasons. Some people will work in a manufacturing facility that uses harmful chemicals. Others may be nearby when some kind of industrial accident occurs. There are even people who have low levels of toxic substance exposure because of where they live.
That third category has been an issue for people in certain neighborhoods in the Bay Area historically. There are many neighborhoods that are either quite close to areas with toxic substances in the environment or built in places where companies previously utilized toxic substances. Some people exposed, especially those exposed frequently at the place where they live, may eventually develop medical issues as a result of their toxic substance exposure.
These individuals may have rights, but they need evidence of the issue and its impact on their lives to take action and seek environmental justice.
What has happened in the Bay Area involving toxic exposure?
The more than 35,000 people living in Bayview-Hunters Point have long wondered if shipyard pollution may have caused illnesses among area residents. Not far away, an 866-acre shipyard has become so extremely polluted that it is now a Superfund site. Some of the toxic substances present include petroleum fuels, heavy metals, pesticides and volatile organic compounds.
Concerns about these environmental risks have increased due to changes in the climate and local sea level. There is reason to worry that the heavy metals and chemical contamination present in the shipyard could affect local water resources and even make their way into homes.
Local residents have pushed for more clean-up investment and accountability. Part of that process has involved testing people to show how many people living nearby have detectable amounts of toxic chemicals in their blood.
Standing up against dangerous businesses requires support
When you believe that a company’s poor chemical storage practices or unsafe operations have endangered you, your family members or your neighbors, you may have grounds to make a legal claim against the company. You may also be able to push for local, state or federal support for clean-up efforts.