In July of this year, The New York Times reported twenty-two children died and more than two dozen others were hospitalized after eating a free lunch believed to have been prepared with cooking oil stored in an insecticide container at a primary school in the eastern state of Bihar, India.
The Times quotes Dr. Shambhu Nath Singh, the deputy superintendent of the government hospital in Bihar’s Saran District, as saying toxicity tests revealed that the children’s bodies contained a toxic organophosphate commonly found in insecticides.
The Indian news network reported that the education minister said it is still unclear whether lunches were intentionally poisoned.
What happened to those school children in India is a tragedy. We all want to keep children safe and help them live a healthy life into adulthood. No matter the precautions taken, it is a fact that every day, over 300 children in the United States ages 0 to 19 are treated in an emergency department, and two children die, as a result of being poisoned, according to The Centers for Disease Control. It’s not just household chemicals marked with warning labels that can be dangerous to children; there are hidden dangers in the air, water and soil. It doesn’t help that young, active, and curious children will often eat or drink anything that they find.
For children, exposure to poisonous substances outside in the soil or water can lead to toxic injury. When contaminated regions flood, chemicals, heavy metals and other hazardous materials can pollute the soil. Agricultural runoff and underground fuel storage tanks are just two possible sources of soil and water contamination. Your child can be exposed to these soil contaminants through skin contact (playing on or with the soil), inhalation (breathing dust in the yard), and ingestion.
Lead poisoning is another leading cause of child toxic injury. The tiniest amounts of lead can cause serious health problems, especially in children under the age of 6. Lead poisoning can severely affect mental and physical development, and at high levels, it can be fatal. While lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust in older buildings is a well known cause, most people don’t know that lead poisoning can be caused by costume jewelry made with high lead levels and some household objects. Read more about lead poisoning in our knowledge center.
Public and private industries must be held accountable for the improper use of dangerous compounds and in the disposal of poisonous waste that leads to toxic injury.
If you believe that your child has been injured from contamination, you may be entitled to damages. Compensation in pollution and toxic injury cases includes medical expenses, emotional distress, quality of lifestyle loss, personal injury, and punitive damages.
Contact a toxic or personal injury lawyer who can evaluate your case and help you in the process of seeking compensation.