According to the World Health Organization, close to 4 million people die prematurely from illnesses attributed to household air pollution from inefficient cooking practices using polluting stoves paired with solid fuels and kerosene.
Household air pollution can have serious impacts on one’s health. Americans spend on average approximately 90% of their time indoors—further highlighting the importance of ensuring the air quality you’re breathing inside your home or in any other building is safe. The Environmental Protection Agency defines indoor air quality as the “quality of air in a home, school, office, and other building environment.”
Concentrations of some pollutants indoors has increased in recent decades due to factors like energy-efficient building construction, an increased use of synthetic building materials, furnishing, personal care products, and household cleaners, the EPA reported.
Carbon monoxide fumes from a generator killed four members of a family and left another member in critical condition in Edinburg, Texas, in July 2020. The generator was found inside the family’s home and turned on. Generators are known to release large amounts of carbon monoxide and are not meant to run inside people’s homes or in other enclosed spaces. In response, the Edinburg Police Department urged its residents to keep their generators outside at all times when powered on and re-posted the early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning – which can include headaches, dizziness, weakness, fatigue, and nausea.
Toxins in household products may even lead to language or cognitive delays for children.
A February 2020 study lead by Hui Jiang, senior research associate at The Ohio State University, found that young children from low-income homes whose mothers reported frequent use of toxic chemicals such as household cleaners were more likely to show delays in language and cognitive development by age 2. The study sampled low-income mothers and their young children, and mothers completed questionnaires on toxicant exposure in the home environment.
“Exposure to toxicants, especially pesticides, was reported by about 20% of mothers at or around pregnancy, and 30% when their children were between 1 and 2 years of age,” the study discovered.
If you and/or a loved one has been injured because of toxic indoor air pollution in Norwalk, CT, our experienced product liability attorneys at Lemberg Law are equipped to get you the compensation you deserve. We understand injuries from indoor air pollution can result in serious impacts on your health and finances; which is why you may need help as soon as possible.
Navigating who may be at fault for your injury can be a scary and frustrating experience, but it doesn’t have to be. For 13 years, Lemberg Law has made legal representation a pain-free and easily accessible process. We have successfully recovered more than $50 million in damages for more than 25,000 clients across the nation. Our track record speaks for itself.
You may be compensated for damages or losses associated with your injury, which can include but are not limited to:
- Medical expense reimbursements
- Payment of lost wages
- Compensation for future medical costs
- Payment for future earnings
- Damages for pain and suffering
Call us at 475-277-2200 for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. We’re standing by to take your call.
Health Effects from Indoor Air Pollution
There are a range of health effects that can be associated with indoor air pollution. Unlike other types of accidents, it may take years for symptoms of an illness caused by pollution to manifest. Some common health effects from household air pollution include:
- Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat
- Headaches, dizziness, and fatigue
- Respiratory diseases (ex. pneumonia)
- Heart disease (ex. ischemic heart disease)
- Cancer (tuberculosis, cataract, nasopharyngeal, and laryngeal cancers)
- Inflammation of airways and lungs
Sick Building Syndrome
Your symptoms may into what is classified by the EPA to be “sick building syndrome.” This term is used in situations in which building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that are linked to time spent in the building, but no cause has been identified. For example, the cause may be localized in a particular room, or it can be widespread throughout the building.
According to the EPA, common indicators of sick building syndrome are:
- “Building occupants complain of symptoms such as cough; chest tightness; fever, chills; and muscle aches.
- The symptoms can be clinically defined and have clearly identifiable causes.
- Complainants may require prolonged recovery times after leaving the building.”
Common Air Pollutants of Concern
The EPA lists various pollutants that can be found to affect indoor air quality and can harm individuals. Common air pollutants of concern can be anything from:
- Byproducts of combustion like carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and environmental tobacco smoke
- Natural origin substances like radon, pet danger, and mold
- Pesticides, lead, and asbestos
- Ozone from some air cleaners
- Various volatile organic compounds from a variety of products and materials
Meanwhile, causes of sick-building syndrome can include:
- Inadequate ventilation
- Chemical contaminants from indoor sources (adhesives, carpeting, upholstery, manufactured wood products, copy machines, pesticides, cleaning agents, etc.)
- Chemical contaminates from outdoor sources (pollutant from motor vehicle exhausts, plumbing and vents, building exhausts)
- Biological containments (bacteria, molds, pollen, and viruses)
How To Better The Air Quality in Your Home
- Install a carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and toxic gas that can be extremely deadly if exposed to.
- Use exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen.
- Store products such as paints, gasolines, motor oil, pesticides, and other toxins in air-tight cabinets in an outside shed or unattached garage.
- Purchase “clean” cleaning products and be mindful of ingredients. According to the Environmental Working Group, fumes from some cleaning products may induce asthma in otherwise healthy individuals. Common cleaning ingredients may even be laced with the carcinogenic impurity 1,4-dioxane.
Learn more about how you can improve your indoor environment here.
FAQs about Indoor Air Pollution
What is Indoor Air Quality?
Indoor air quality is the quality of air inside buildings, such as homes, schools, workplaces, and more. The air can be contaminated by chemical, biological, and physical agents from a variety of indoor and outdoor sources. WHO reported that household air pollution is risk “for acute lower respiratory infections (pneumonia) in adults, and contributes to 28% of all adult deaths to pneumonia.”
Can household pollutants comes from outside of the building?
Yes. While most pollutants affecting indoor air quality come from inside the building, some may originate outdoors. According to the EPA, outdoor air pollutants can enter the building through open doors, windows, ventilation systems, and cracks in structures. Harmful smoke from chimneys can also re-enter the home and pollute the air in the home and neighborhood. Chemicals in water supplies can enter the home when occupants are using water, such as when showering or cooking.
What are some indicators of indoor environment problems?
According to the Connecticut Department of Public Health, some common indicators of indoor air pollution include noticeable odors, visible water damage, excessive humidity, visible mild and mildew, damaged flue pipes or chimney, stale or stuffy air, and dirty/faulty heating of air conditioning.
Who is liable for my indoor air pollution injury?
An individual or company may be liable for your indoor air pollution injury if negligence or a breach of duty exists. For example, if the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff and it was found that the defendant breached that duty to exercise the degree of care that a reasonable person would exercise in these circumstances, and the plaintiff was injured because of that breach of care, the defendant could be liable for damages. For example, a tenant may have a claim against their landlord if they incurred injuries due to poor and unhealthy air quality conditions within the building. You can find more information about legal and liability issues associated with indoor air quality here.
In some cases, determining liability may be tricky. That’s why it’s important to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer who can review all of the facts in your case. The attorneys at Lemberg Law have the resources to investigate the cause, take on the responsible party, and deliver you the justice you deserve for the pain and suffering you are experiencing.
How much compensation am I entitled to?
How much you may receive in damages depends on a variety of factors, such as the sum cost of your injuries and who is at fault. Once our lawyers get all of the necessary information from you, we will evaluate your case tailored to your needs. We provide personalized representation to our clients and make sure to keep them informed about any updates in their case. In some cases, a class action may have already been filed in connection with indoor pollution injury and you may have the option to join an existing lawsuit.
How much time to do I have to file a personal injury claim in Norwalk?
If you injury was caused by an owned or operated by a district or government entity, in many states, there is only a brief period—sometimes less than 60 days—in which a claimant can sue a government body who may be responsible for an accident.
If you are pursuing a personal injury claim that is not against a government body, under Connecticut law, you must file a personal injury or property damage claim within two years of the date of the accident. If someone suffers a wrongful death, the two-year limit starts on the date of the victim’s death from their injuries.
What will the process look like if I file with Lemberg Law?
You can call us at 475-277-2200 or use the case evaluation form on our website to receive a free, no-obligation consultation from our experienced legal team. If your case is accepted, we work toward a settlement or take the responsible party to court. If we win, you receive the compensation you deserve for your injury. If we don’t prevail in the case, we cover the tab for you.