Stamford’s Decisive Product Liability Lawyers
You do your best to limit the dangers in your home. However, there might be products in your home right now that are unsafe or hazardous to your health. While some have not been recalled, and many are still sold in stores, removing these from your home reduces your risk of injury significantly.
What Products Can Stamford Residents Remove from Their Home?
While you get ready for spring cleaning this March, consider discarding and replacing the following products inside your home:
Non-Stick Cookware Products
Having a pan that requires minimal cleaning is a convenience. After all, you can wipe away just about any food, including burnt cheese. However, non-stick cookware contains polytetrafluorethylene, which is a coating that helps create the non-stick surface.
Also known as PTFE, once this substance reaches over 200 degrees Fahrenheit to starts to emit fluorocarbons, which may be toxic. Studies have shown that they are high risk at 250 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, and with frequent exposure. Regardless, it might be in your best interest to remove non-stick coated pans from your home and replace them with stainless steel.
Lawsuits have been filed over leaking chemicals used in non-stick cookware. For example, DuPont had to settle a lawsuit in 2017 for a toxic chemical leaking from their products – a chemical known as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). While this product is no longer used, some companies may still use toxic chemicals in their non-stick coatings that could be hazardous. It may take years for someone to realize just how unsafe they are.
Flea and Tick Removal Products
You might have flea and tick products inside your home if you have cats or dogs. After all, these products are necessary year-round to protect your pet from these unwanted pests. However, most of these products contain harmful toxins, including some known to cause nerve damage. Several of these products have undergone recalls for pet deaths, but not human deaths. Now, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires better labeling for pet owners to avoid misuse and death among animals.
Mothballs, which contain naphthalene, have been found to destroy blood cells and have caused cancer in laboratory testing. While no confirmed cases of cancer have been found for humans, they still pose a severe health risk, especially for small children who may accidentally consume them.
Currently, the World Health Organization (WHO) considers it a potential carcinogen, but the US EPA says it is unlikely to cause cancer in humans. Exposure, however, can lead to a whole host of conditions, including headache, nausea, dizziness, tremors, and more.
Everyone wants a home that smells clean and fresh. After all, in the winter your home is closed tight, and there is no opportunity to open the windows and freshen things up. Specific air fresheners contain toxins, and these toxins may affect reproductive hormones in small children.
Most of these products contain phthalate according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. Some products sold in stores contain higher volumes of phthalate than others. The most dangerous type is Di-ethyl Phthalate(DEP), which has been found to cause hormonal development issues in children.
Oven cleaning products are tough on baked-on food and build-up, but there is a reason for that – they contain corrosive chemicals and alkalis. If these products are inhaled or ingested, it could cause severe problems within the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems.
Oven cleaners are still sold to consumers, and they have numerous warning labels, But if inhaled they could lead to breathing trouble and swelling of the throat. If ingested, such as a small child accidentally ingesting the product, it could cause severe burning and even vision loss as well as burns in the esophagus, low blood pressure, abdominal pain, vomiting, and organ damage.
Gas Space Heaters
If your home has colder spots, you might consider bringing your outdoor gas space heater indoors. Gas space heaters are not meant for inside use – only electric models are. These put you at a high-risk for carbon monoxide poisoning, which can be fatal.
Outdoor models, when used outdoors, can still emit carbon monoxide. This is why models today have vents to remove the gases properly and keep the dangerous carbon monoxide from being blown into a person’s face.
Houses built after 1978 are supposed to no longer have lead paint. But if you live in an older home, you could have lead-based paint products lurking underneath layers of latex paint. When this paint flakes, small children may ingest it – exposing themselves to unhealthy amounts of lead.
Lead paint is not just on the walls of older homes. In fact, imported toys from China have undergone widespread recalls for toxic levels of lead found in their components. One prominent toy manufacturer, Mattel, had to recall almost one million toys in 2007 for lead traces in their products.
There is no way to tell if a product contains lead without proper testing. But when you buy toys, purchase products that are manufactured in the United States. US regulations are stricter about lead and toxic chemical use, and never purchase wooden or painted toys a child can chew on.
Baby Bottles and Toddler Sippy Cups
The United States is behind the curve, but Canada has already placed a permanent ban on baby bottles and sippy cups, as well as adult water bottles, made of polycarbonate plastic materials. Canada did so because polycarbonate plastics contain bisphenol-a (BPA), which is a toxic chemical when heated.
BPA is a hormone disruptor. And when a baby bottle is heated, trace amounts of BPA enter the formula or breastmilk, which can affect a child’s hormones as they develop. BPA can be found in various products including refillable water bottles, sippy cups, plastic cups, and bottles.
Most manufacturers have stopped using BPA, and one manufacturer has already settled a lawsuit for their use of BPA. The National Resources Defense Council has filed a suit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to force them to respond to their request to stop the use of all BPA in any plastic food packaging in the United States.
Laundry detergent in a pourable bottle is not the issue. It is the small dissolvable laundry packs that are the issue. These are convenient and premeasured so that you can pop them into the washing machine and get on with the day. To small children, they look like candy. And if a child ingests a laundry detergent pod, they may suffer from nausea, vomiting, shock, and coma. For smaller children, ingestion is often fatal.
The federal government now requires manufacturers to have proper child safety locks on their containers and have labels indicating the risks. Proctor & Gamble has already had a class action lawsuit filed against them for their laundry pods.
Antibacterial Soaps and Cleaners
Antibacterial cleaners used to be the alternative to washing hands. But now doctors and researchers are moving away from suggesting their use due to the increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
When you are cleaning your home, you might reach for one that says it is an antibacterial cleaner. But be aware these products use surfactant and pesticides, which are more toxic and can burn the eyes and throat if ingested.
Antibacterial hand soap might also contain triclosan, which alters hormones in rats. The CDC says there is no evidence these soaps protect against illness or disease more than regular hand soap.
Cleaning products that claim to be “green,” “biodegradable,” and “natural” are not always what they seem, and their labels do not indicate toxicity. However, consider the claims made by the company and research products before automatically assuming they are safe.
What to Do If a Dangerous or Harmful Product Injures You
While products must undergo testing before they are sold in stores, a product that passes these tests might not be safe. It can take months or even years to discover hidden dangers. If you have been injured by a defective product or a hazardous product, you may be entitled to compensation. You can seek compensation by filing a product liability claim against the manufacturer and possibly others in the distribution chain.
Understanding the Types of Product Liability
For household products, you have a few types of product liability that might apply – depending on the kind of product.
- Defective Design – A faulty design means the product was hazardous or defective from conception. For example, a product that contains a dangerous toxin. When it is discovered that the manufacturer used that harmful toxin and people were exposed, it was defectively designed because the original specifications called for the use of that toxin.
- Defective Manufacturing – Sometimes, the formulation or product has a defect that occurs during manufacturing. This means that most of the product on the shelves are safe, except for a batch or products manufactured between specific dates. For example, a cleaning product might have a too high volume of a corrosive compound because measuring equipment distributed the wrong amount. The product’s original formula is safe and does not contain an unsafe amount, but the batch manufactured had the error.
- Warning Labels – A product might be dangerous, such as bleach. However, the consumer needs the product. Therefore, the manufacturer is required to supply warning labels and instructions for these dangerous or hazardous products.
Hold Manufacturers Accountable – Speak with a Product Liability Attorney
If a defective or hazardous product injures you or a loved one, you may be entitled to compensation. Schedule a consultation with an attorney in your area that has experience handling these types of cases. Often, defective product cases have multiple defendants and investigating the distribution chain to find who is at fault is a complicated process.