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Birth Defects and Pesticides

 
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Massachusetts birth defect lawyers helping victims of workplace exposure

The attorneys at Thornton Law Firm who specialize in birth defects help farm workers and their families who were needlessly exposed to and harmed by dangerous pesticides.

Agricultural workers in the United States have the greatest incidence of birth defects, according to Dr. Theodore Schettler, author of Generations at Risk.

Unfortunately, agriculture is an industry dominated by migrant workers, making it difficult to study and document this growing public health crisis. Adding to the difficulty of stemming pesticide-related birth defects is that one of the most effective tools for implementing changes—the tort lawsuit—is largely prohibited against pesticide manufacturers. Courts have interpreted an act passed by Congress, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), as preempting or preventing such lawsuits and improved warnings for pesticide products.

Working to hold pesticide manufacturers responsible

Even with these barriers to legal actions, Thornton Law Firm, for the past several years, has investigated and prepared lawsuits on behalf of children with birth defects whose parents either worked in fields where pesticides were applied, or lived in close proximity to such areas. Thornton Law Firm has worked closely with Pesticide Action Network of North America (PANNA), an organization dedicated to addressing this country’s use of pesticides and making changes that will better protect farmers and laborers in the fields, as well as the general public that consumes crops.

In addition, the firm has been investigating ways to bring these lawsuits in the United States without them being preempted under FIFRA. We believe that such claims can be brought against other entities responsible for the use of pesticides on crops, such as large commercial farming corporations that have purchased numerous family-owned farms. We also believe manufacturers of pesticides, such as Dow AgroSciences, Monsanto, and Bayer, can still be found liable by establishing the existence and potential use of safer alternatives to the toxic ingredients in pesticide products. We have successfully demonstrated in other toxic product litigation that such alternative designs do exist. We have worked with scientists in this endeavor, including those in the Department of Toxic Use Reduction at the University of Lowell in Massachusetts.

U.S. pesticide makers spreading harm around the world

In 2009, Thornton Law Firm, along with two other law firms, took on cases involving a large number of children residing in Misiones, Argentina, who suffer from spina bifida and other serious birth defects. Doctors treating these children realized that they all had parents who worked in tobacco farming in Misiones.

Investigation to date has revealed that these farmers were required to use large amounts of pesticides, including Round-Up, on their tobacco crops to meet quotas. Research shows that tobacco farming in the United States has significantly declined since the 1950s, while farming in countries such as Argentina has markedly risen.

This is not a coincidence. Tobacco producers such as Phillip Morris knew that restrictions on pesticide usage were much different in countries such as Argentina, allowing for their increased use and higher crop production. Moreover, the requirements for protecting workers in these countries are much less stringent. As the companies responsible for the use and ingredients of these pesticides are domestic corporations, Thornton Law Firm has filed cases in the United States on behalf of the injured children.

Important birth defect links

Trust our birth defect attorneys to help

Contact the Boston law firm of Thornton Law Firm online or at 1-888-491-9726 for a free consultation with a recognized leader in toxic tort and birth defect litigation. You have nothing to risk. We offer a fair and accurate assessment of your case.

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Thornton Law Firm LLP is located in Boston, Massachusetts and serves clients in and around Boston, Revere, Chelsea, Charlestown, Brighton, Somerville, Allston, Everett, Winthrop, Mattapan, Cambridge, Jamaica Plain, Brookline, Roslindale, Malden, Readville, Newtonville, Newton Center, Arlington, Melrose, West Roxbury, Milton, Newton Highlands, Essex County and Suffolk County.

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