Businesses generally exist to make money, and this profit incentive sometimes means that executives and owners make hasty decisions without thoroughly considering the consequences of their actions. Other times, they may dismiss or even intentionally hide the negative aspects of their business model to maximize profit, possibly at the expense of many others.
One of the many ways that cost-cutting measures and poor business practices can hurt the public involves toxic exposure. There are many ways that a company might expose people living nearby or consumers to dangerous substances. These are some of the common ways that businesses expose people to chemicals that may sicken or kill them.
Through improper waste disposal
here are regulations on everything from wastewater disposal to air filtration at factories combusting materials or processing chemicals. Certain chemicals can make the air dangerous to breathe, while others may contaminate groundwater. When businesses try to avoid their obligations to properly dispose of or collect dangerous by-products of their business operations, people in the nearby community could end up exposed to dangerous substances.
Through dangerous products
Some companies will use metal alloys that contain dangerous materials, like lead, arsenic or cadmium, for products that might break down or have direct contact with people’s bodies. Other companies may produce products that are contaminated with dangerous substances, like asbestos finding its way into beauty products. Consumers may not realize until much later that the products that they purchased at the store actually expose them to toxic substances that may have made them sick or cause them to develop cancer.
Through poor employment practices
Businesses generally have to disclose when workers will handle toxic substances. They should train workers on proper safety protocol and provide necessary safety equipment. Cost-cutting when it comes to worker safety can lead to severe injuries or deadly illnesses, like cancer.
Those sickened by a company’s poor practices related to toxic substances may serve as grounds for a lawsuit. Connecting one’s illness with business practices is often the first step toward holding a company accountable for putting profits above the safety of others.