Although most of the toxic chemicals polluting Maryland waterways have already been banned by the U.S. government, their impact continues to be felt by human beings and wildlife alike. One group of particularly dangerous cancer-causing industrial chemicals, called polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), has been outlawed since 1979, and yet they continue to make themselves manifest in Maryland’s rivers.
However, one group of researchers aims to end the cycle of pollution, by performing an intensive study on how to remove PCBs from the water in the Back River and throughout the Chesapeake Bay. Approved by the Baltimore Board of Estimates on October 3rd, 2018, the study will rely on more than $200k of combined city and federal funding to discover a solution to this health hazard. As Baltimore environmental torts attorneys, our team is deeply committed to the health of our environment and our communities, and we strongly support the mission of these researchers.
The Problem of PCBs: Cancer and Other Harmful Injuries
The chemicals called PCBs have long been identified as causing cancer, neurological defects, and serious reproductive harm in both humans and animals – according to the EPA, they are one of the most thoroughly studied environmental hazards in existence. Used in electrical and hydraulic equipment for many years due to their flame-retardant properties and chemical stability, this family of man-made chemicals was actively manufactured in the United States for 50 years, spanning from 1929 until 1979.
Although the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 allowed the EPA to prevent any further production of PCBs, the damage to the environment had already been done. Although environmental researchers have largely focused on PCB pollution in soil and at the sites of old factories, this new study aims to change that perception, and focus on the damage done to waterways, as well as the people and wildlife that rely on them.
Helping Communities Fight Back Against Environmental Contamination
Until now, research on removing PCBs from the ecosystem has been somewhat scarce, as most research efforts have been dedicated to examining their negative effects on humans and animals. Because of this, city and state governments have been at a loss as to how to reduce the PCB levels in their communities. If this study is successful, however, removing PCBs from waterways could be replicated not only in the Back River, but in communities across America suffering from this contamination.
Environmental issues are complex, and there are often a multitude of factors at play when communities have been harmed by toxic chemicals. At Brown & Barron, LLC, our Baltimore environmental torts lawyers understand these issues well, and have extensive experience seeking justice for our clients claiming damages for toxic exposure.
If you’ve been affected by any kind of environmental contamination, don’t hesitate to reach out for a free consultation with our environmental torts team. Call (410) 698-1717 or schedule your consultation online today.