Factory Sued for Environmental Release of Carcinogens


Pollution Expert WitnessA lodge in West Virginia decided to file suit against a neighboring factory for groundwater contamination after lodge employees began to show signs of organ and nervous system damage. The factory had allegedly been practicing off-site dumping of toxic wastes into unlined pits for decades, burying barrels of carcinogens and chlorinated solvents into the surrounding area of the lodge. The surrounding topography, characterized by sinkholes, caves, and springs, became compromised and diffused solvents and carcinogens beyond the border of the factory. As a result, year-round lodge employees began to develop cancer, kidney damage, and damaged immune systems. The company denied that any dumping had ever taken place at their factory, necessitating an expert who could discuss the facts of the case and asses the damages claimed by the lodge.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Do you have experience with the effects and damages of human carcinogens or chlorinated waste solvents?
  • 2. Please explain why you are qualified to serve as the expert witness on this issue.

Expert Witness Response E-009959

Expert-ID: E-009959

I have worked with carcinogens in the context of experimental animal studies for 14 years. I have published several peer-reviewed journal articles on the effects of carcinogens on the immune system and brain during adult and developmental exposure. I have also published a book chapter and was co-editor of a book on the human health effects of carcinogens. I currently hold two National Institute of Health grants, and.was also chosen to peer review the draft report on Carcinogens Monograph for the US Department of Health and Human Services National Toxicology Program. I feel qualified to discuss the widespread ramifications on humans as a result of the introduction of carcinogens in their environment. However, other experts in epidemiology, biostatistics, hydrology, and geology would be helpful to discuss vapor intrusion and geological factors and supplement my opinions in this particular case.

Expert Witness Response E-010003

I am a full-time faculty member currently examining how exposure to common environmental toxicants triggers autoimmune disease. My research is focused on how chronic low-level exposure to a single carcinogen, or in mixtures with other chemicals, affects immune cells and promotes autoimmune disease. Although genetics plays a role in autoimmunity, there is evidence that the environmental influence, such as exposure to toxicants, is equally important. Typically, unsafe levels of a toxicant are determined by whether a concentration causes cancer. At lower levels that are not carcinogenic, the chemicals can still impact human health by promoting autoimmune disease. Evaluating the mechanisms by which low-level exposure to pollutants promote autoimmune diseases will help identify interventions.

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