This case involves a power plant that was forced to suspend its operations after repeatedly violating environmental regulatory codes. The company was found to be in violation of the legal level of certain cancer-causing air pollutants and agreed to limit the level of these pollutants to reduce health risks in surrounding homes. The company was given 3 months to correct this issue. At the end of the 3-month period, a monitor measured an average air-pollution level 5 times in excess of the legal level. An expert in toxicology with an understanding of cancer-causing air pollutants was sought to address the consequences to human health from exposure to these chemicals.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please describe your background in toxicology.
- 2. What are some likely effects of exposure to this environmental pollution?
Expert Witness Response E-143061
Hexavalent chromium causes irritation and damage to skin, eyes, and respiratory tissues from nasal passages to the deeper lung tissues. Chronic irritation can lead to mucosal ulcers, scarring, and eventually cancer. Environmental or occupational exposures to hexavalent chromium have also been linked to cancer in cases of prolonged toxicity duration. Individuals who smoke may be at higher risk from this hazardous exposure due to additive effects of chromium with other respiratory tract toxins/carcinogens. Lead and arsenic poisoning can have acute and chronic effects. Lead toxicity manifests as anemia, neurologic dysfunction and/or deterioration, growth retardation, kidney injury and gastrointestinal tract issues. Arsenic can cause neuropathy, damage to hair, skin, and nails, and kidney injury. The timing of these symptoms and signs varies depending on the duration and dose of exposure and baseline health of the individual.