Paragard IUD Lawsuits

Paragard IUD Lawsuits

If you believe you have experienced complications while using a Paragard IUD, you may have a claim for money damages. Please call Attorney Marilyn McGoldrick at 800-404-1150, or tell us your story online.

What is a Paragard IUD?

Paragard is a method of contraception; an intrauterine birth control device (IUD) implanted in the uterus to prevent pregnancy. It is a flexible T-shaped plastic device with copper wrapped around the arms and the stem. It can be implanted non-surgically by a healthcare provider. The Paragard IUD is advertised to be 99% effective in preventing pregnancy, and will last up to 10 years. Approved by the FDA in 1984, it was originally manufactured by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd. The Paragard IUD was acquired by The Cooper Companies, Inc., in 2017 for $1.1 billion dollars.

How does a Paragard IUD work?

While other IUDs use hormones to prevent pregnancy (the hormonal IUDs on the U.S. market are Mirena, Kyleena, Liletta and Skyla), the Paragard IUD emits small amounts of copper. Copper ions are associated with an inflammatory response in the uterus. The inflammation in the uterus prevents the sperm from reaching the egg. Researchers also believe the copper ions have a spermicidal, or sperm-killing, effect.

Paragard IUD history with FDA.

The Paragard IUD was originally approved in 1984 for use by women in a monogamous relationship who had at least one child. Revisiting the prescribing label in 2005, the recommendation was expanded to include all women over the age of 16 to menopausal.

More than 40,000 reports of adverse reactions have been made to the FDA since the Paragard IUD device was approved in 1984, including more than 15,000 serious complications and at least 15 deaths.

What severe injuries are associated with the Paragard IUD?

  • Breakage during removal
  • Device embedded in the uterus
  • Device expulsion
  • Inflammation caused by copper left in the body
  • Device migration
  • Device migration leading to organ damage
  • Perforation of the uterine wall
  • Infection or abscess
  • Scarring of the uterus
  • Scarring and damage to other organs
  • Hysterectomy
  • Death

What can you do?

If you or a loved one has suffered complications while using the Paragard IUD form of birth control, you may have a claim for damages. Contact Attorney Marilyn McGoldrick and her team of defective drug lawyers at Thornton Law Firm for a free, confidential evaluation of your legal rights at 1-888-341-1405. Or tell us your story using our contact form for a free and thorough evaluation of your legal rights.

Trust our defective drug attorneys to help.

Contact us online or at 1-800-404-1150 for a free consultation with a recognized leader in Massachusetts and around the country in defective drug litigation. You have nothing to risk. We offer a fair and accurate assessment of your case.

Belviq Weight Loss Drug Lawsuits

What is Belviq?

Belviq, generic name lorcaserin, is a prescription weight loss drug for treating obesity. Belviq was first marketed in the United States in 2012 after FDA approval. It came in a regular version, 10 mg tablets taken twice a day, and as a once-a-day extended-release 20 mg tablet, called Belviq XR.

Developed by Arena Pharmaceuticals, it was distributed in the United States by Eisai Inc. Belviq was the first weight-loss drug approved in the United States in 13 years. As part of the approval, Eisai was required to perform a long-term clinical trial into the cardiovascular effects of Belviq.

Belviq and Belviq XR Recalled

On January 14, 2020, the FDA alerted the public that the clinical study of Belviq showed “a possible increased risk of cancer.”

On February 13, 2020, the FDA and Eisai Inc. announced Belviq and Belviq XR were being removed from the market at the request of the FDA because the safety clinical trial showed an increased occurrence of cancer. The risk of cancer outweighed any weight loss benefit from taking the drug.

While Eisai pulled the drug from the market at the request of the FDA, it disputed the FDA’s interpretation of the data from the clinical trial.

Belviq and Cancer

The clinical trial of Belviq followed 12,000 participants for more than 5 years. Those who took Belviq had an elevated overall cancer rate compared to those who took a placebo.

Pancreatic, colorectal, and lung cancers occurred more frequently, although a range of cancer types was reported by participants in the study.

Because of the elevated cancer risk, the FDA recommended patients stop taking Belviq immediately, and talk to their health care providers about alternative weight loss medicines and weight management programs.

What Can You Do?

If you or a loved one took Belviq and were diagnosed with any form of cancer, you may have a legal claim for damages. Contact the Belviq cancer lawyers at Thornton Law Firm by calling 1-888-341-1405 or telling us your story here. Please contact us as soon as possible if you believe you have a claim. Courts enforce the time limits for filing lawsuits very strictly. Do not delay seeking legal advice.

 

Elmiron and Eye Damage Lawsuits

If you believe you have experienced vision loss or other eye damage after taking Elmiron, you may have a claim for money damages. Please call Attorney Marilyn McGoldrick at 888-809-3937. or tell us your story online 

What is Elmiron?

Elmiron is a medication prescribed to relieve the pain and discomfort of interstitial cystitis (IC). IC is also known as Painful Bladder Syndrome (PBS).  It was originally approved by the FDA in 1996 and is supplied in 100 mg white opaque hard gelatin capsules.  The generic name for Elmiron is polysulfate sodium.

IC is a chronic condition in which the patient may experience bladder pressure, bladder pain, pelvic pain, bladder frequency, urge incontinence, and painful sex. Women are much more likely to experience IC than men. The pain caused by IC can range from mild to severe.

Elmiron is the only drug approved by the FDA specifically for the treatment of interstitial cystitis.

FDA Adds New Warning to Elmiron Label

In June, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new warning label for Elmiron after the medication had been linked to cases of eye damage and vision-related injuries.  Despite receiving reports of pigmentary changes in the retina, also referred to as “pigmentary maculopathy” and several studies indicating a link between Elmiron use and eye damage, the label for Elmiron did not contain any warning about the potential for eye damage.   Pigmentary maculopathy is progressive and permanent.  It cannot be reversed.

The new warning label warns that use of Elmiron may cause “retinal pigmentary changes”. Because of the potential eye damage which may be caused by regular use of Elmiron, the FDA recommends doctors obtain a detailed ophthalmologic history in every patient prior to beginning a course of the drug.

What is retinal maculopathy and what are the symptoms?

In May of 2018 a team of opthalmologists at Emory University in Atlanta identified six patients who had been taking Elmiron with a newly discovered retinal disorder they named “retinal maculopathy”.  Nearly all the patients in this study showed hyperpigmentation of the “subtle paracentral hyperpigmentation at the level of the reginal pigment epithelium (RPE)”. They describe retinal maculopathy as novel – and possibly avoidable.

The following retinal maculopathy symptoms may be related to the use of Elmiron:

  • Difficulty reading
  • Slow adjustment to low or dim lighting
  • Blurred vision
  • Night blindness
  • Difficulty reading
  • Dark spots in vision
  • Loss of detailed vision
  • Blurry vision
  • Seeing dark spots
  • Color blindness
  • A change in eye color
  • Blindness

What can you do?

If you are taking Elmiron and have experienced any changes in vision that may be related to the use of the drug should speak with a doctor about getting the appropriate eye exams. The FDA recommends all patients who have a pre-existing ophthalmologic condition and all patients who have taken Elmiron for more than six (6) months receive a comprehensive retinal examination.

Patients who have been diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration, retinal deterioration, and pattern dystrophy – all diseases related to pigmentary maculopathy – who are taking Elmiron may actually be experiencing retinal maculopathy.

Trust our Massachusetts Elmiron attorneys to help

If you believe you have experienced vision loss or other eye damage after taking Elmiron, you may have a legal claim for the damage you suffered. Please call Attorney Marilyn McGoldrick at 888-809-3937 or tell us your story online for a free consultation with a recognized leader in personal injury and medical device litigation. You have nothing to risk. We offer a fair and accurate assessment of your case. All consultations are held in the strictest confidence.

TDF and Truvada Lawsuits

What are TDF and Truvada?

The HIV drug tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) is a pharmaceutical that is prescribed (along with other drugs) to patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

The branded drugs Truvada, Viread, Atripla, Complera, and Stribild all contain TDF. Viread was the first anti-HIV TDF drug on the market, in 2001.

TDF’s ingredients work to decrease the amount of HIV virus in the system, thereby boosting the immune system.

Truvada, a drug combinating emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, was originally prescribed to treat HIV when it was released in 2004. In 2012 it was also approved as a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) treatment to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV for sexually active at-risk adults, along with safe sex practices.

TDF and the other TDF-containing drugs are manufactured by Gilead Sciences, Inc., an American pharmaceutical company headquartered in Foster City, California.

What are the side effects of  TDF and Truvada?

Patients taking TDF/Truvada have reported serious side effects including bone deterioration, kidney problems, and lactic acidosis.

Symptoms of bone deterioration in patients taking TDF or Truvada may include:

  • Pain or discomfort;
  • Osteopenia (loss of bone mass);
  • Osteoporosis (porous bone – the bone looks like a honeycomb under a microscope)
  • Fractures

TDF or Truvada may also cause severe kidney problems including:

  • Acute renal failure;
  • Chronic kidney disease;
  • Kidney tubular dysfunction; or
  • Fanconi’s syndrome.

Patients may experience the following symptoms of kidney damage while taking TDF or Truvada:

  • Weakness;
  • Headaches;
  • Fatigue;
  • Confusion;
  • Breathing difficulty;
  • Bruising;
  • Nausea;
  • Vomiting;
  • Thirst;
  • Decreased urine output;
  • Numbness;
  • Muscle cramps;
  • Swelling;
  • Anemia; and/or
  • Yellow skin color

Finally, a patient taking TDF or Truvada may develop lactic acidosis, which is difficulty removing excess acid from the body. Lactic acidosis makes the blood too acidic, as blood is normally slightly alkaline. These symptoms may indicate lactic acidosis:

  • Abdominal or stomach discomfort;
  • Muscle pain or cramping;
  • Decreased appetite;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Fast, shallow breathing;
  • Fatigue;
  • Weakness;
  • Cold and clammy skin;
  • Sweating;
  • Unusual anxiety or confusion;
  • Unusual sleepiness.

What should I do?

If you are experiencing any symptoms you believe may be related to a TDF-containing drug such as Truvada, you should seek medical attention from a physician immediately. In particular, lactic acidosis is a very serious condition. Lactic acidosis can cause death if not treated immediately on an emergency basis.

How we can help

Thornton Law Firm LLP has been a leader in investigating and pursuing financial compensation on behalf of individuals who have been injured by defective drugs for more than 30 years. We have a team of attorneys dedicated to this complex area of law. We understand your rights, what is at stake, and how to handle drug claims from beginning to end. For a free evaluation of your TDF/Truvada case, please call Attorney Marilyn McGoldrick at our toll-free number 1-888-341-1405 or tell us your story here. You have nothing to risk. We offer a fair and accurate assessment of your case.

 

Semiconductor Industry & Birth Defects

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Contact us today

Contact the Boston law firm of Thornton Law Firm LLP at 844-999-6942 or a free consultation with a recognized leader in personal injury litigation. For more information, please contact Thornton Law Firm for a free consultation.

Massachusetts birth defect attorneys focusing on workplace exposures

The Boston law offices of Thornton Law Firm LLP has a long, distinguished history of helping semiconductor workers and their families seek justice for birth defects caused by exposures in their workplace.

Our firm first represented semiconductor workers with reproductive health injuries in the late 1990s. Our initial semiconductor case, Edward Ayers et al v. Shipley Company, Inc. and J.T. Baker Inc., was one of the first lawsuits filed in the country involving a cleanroom worker in the semiconductor industry who suffered reproductive harm. This suit involved claims against the manufacturers of dangerous semiconductor chemicals. It was successfully resolved in Massachusetts state court after three years of litigation.

Leaders in semiconductor birth defect litigation

Over the past several years, Thornton Law Firm has litigated cases against the manufacturers of semiconductor wafers, chips, and other microelectronic components involving birth defects among the children of employees in the industry. One of these cases alleged that Digital Equipment Corporation in Hudson, Massachusetts failed to provide employees with a safe workplace. This failure resulted in exposures to numerous teratogenic (birth-defect-causing) chemicals such as ethylene glycol ethers (EGEs). Our law firm litigated this case against Digital’s successor, the Hewlett Packard Company, for several years. The case resolved in 2009.

The Pastides Study links semiconductor exposure to spontaneous abortions

The Digital Equipment case was of particular significance as the exposures took place in the same facility that became the subject of the first major epidemiological study of reproductive harm in the semiconductor industry. This study, commonly known as the Pastides Study [1], was performed by researchers at the University of Massachusetts in the early to mid-1980s and found a significant association between spontaneous abortions and employment in semiconductor manufacturing.

While litigating the Digital Equipment case and other semiconductor birth defect cases in Massachusetts, Thornton Law Firm expanded its representation to hundreds of families with children with birth defects related to work in semiconductor manufacturing facilities across the United States. The firm represents plaintiffs in cases involving semiconductor manufacturing plants in Texas, California, Arizona, New Mexico, and other states. These cases involve birth defects arising from a mother’s and/or father’s exposure. The types of birth defects involved in these cases include:

  • Limb abnormalities
  • Heart problems
  • Situs inversus
  • Brain damage
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Facial and skeletal deformities
  • Organ injuries
  • VATER syndrome
  • Spina bifida
  • Gestational cancers
  • Retinoblastoma

Broad range of semiconductor workers suffer harm

The semiconductor workers involved in these cases held different positions in manufacturing or fabricating semiconductor wafers, from photolithography operators and etch operators to engineers, maintenance, and even clerical workers. Common to all workers was their presence in the fabs, or manufacturing facilities, where silicon wafers were constructed (fabricated). They worked in so-called cleanrooms that were designed to protect the chips or wafers from contamination. However, the recirculated air and inadequate exhaust on the tools in the cleanrooms resulted in harmful exposures to the workers.

Multiple studies document dangers

It was well known to the industry that certain chemicals integral to the semiconductor manufacturing process (such as ethylene glycol ethers) were reproductively harmful. In fact, the semiconductor’s own trade association, the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), informed their members as early as 1982 that EGEs were causing birth defects in animal studies.

Many of the companies in the semiconductor manufacturing industry had health and safety personnel or industrial hygienists who were also aware that, as early as the late 1970s, animal studies existed in published literature reporting birth defects. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the State of California in the early 1980s released official notices of the reproductive hazards associated with EGEs.

These government reports indicated that dermal exposure (skin absorption) was particularly dangerous and should be completely avoided. At the same time, the manufacturers of solvents containing EGEs used in semiconductor manufacturing facilities also informed the semiconductor manufacturers about the availability of safer, less-toxic alternatives to EGEs, known as propylene glycol ethers (PGEs).

Manufacturers knew but failed to act quickly

Although the semiconductor industry had actual knowledge of the reproductive harm of EGEs, the industry’s response was slow. Most companies did not substitute EGEs with PGEs until the mid to late 1990s. This is even more astonishing as the Pastides Study, which reported a positive association between reproductive harm and work in semiconductor manufacturing had been released to the industry years earlier in 1986 [1].

Several more years lapsed until the industry completed and published its own epidemiological study in 1996 [2]. Not surprisingly, this study confirmed the findings of the earlier Pastides Study. In 1996, a third study by Johns Hopkins University of IBM semiconductor workers was published [3]. It found similar results of elevated miscarriages among workers in the IBM semiconductor manufacturing facilities.

While the industry was undertaking these studies from the mid-1980s to early 1990s, untold numbers of spontaneous abortions and birth defects occurred among the workers in this industry and their children.

Thornton Law Firm and our co-counsel brought the first cases to of this new wave of birth defect semiconductor manufacturing lawsuits to trial in 2011 in cases filed against Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) in the state court of Delaware. The trials of these cases will be followed shortly thereafter by Thornton Law Firm’ other cases filed in Illinois and California.

Trust our birth defect attorneys to help

Contact the Boston law firm of Thornton Law Firm online or at 844-999-6942 for a free consultation with a recognized leader in toxic tort and birth defect litigation. Toxic chemicals at your workplace may have caused your child’s birth defect. We offer a fair and accurate assessment of your case. You have nothing to risk.

 

Sources

[1] Pastides H, Calabrese EJ, Hosmer Jr DW, Harris DR. Spontaneous abortion and general illness symptoms among semiconductor manufacturers. Journal of Occupational Medicine. 1988;30(7):543-51.

[2] Schenker MB, Gold EB, Beaumont JJ, et al. Association of Spontaneous Abortion and Other Reproductive Effects with Work in the Semiconductor Industry. American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 1995;28:639-59.

[3] SchenkerMB. Reproductive health effects of glycol ether exposure in the semiconductor industry. Occupational Hygiene. 1996;2:367-72.

Beaumont JJ, Swan SH, HammondSK, et al. Historical Cohort Investigation of Spontaneous Abortion in the Semiconductor Health Study: Epidemiologic Methods and Analyses of Risk in Fabrication Overall and in Fabrication Work Groups. American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 1995;28:735-50.

Birth Defects and Ethylene Oxide Sterilization

Contact us today

Contact the Boston law firm of Thornton Law Firm LLP at 844-999-6942 or a free consultation with a recognized leader in personal injury litigation. For more information, please contact Thornton Law Firm for a free consultation.

Dangers posed by use of ethylene oxide at medical device sterilization facilities

Ethylene oxide (EtO) is a gas widely used in the sterilization of medical devices. It is also a highly toxic carcinogen and mutagen, exposure to which has been shown to lead to cancer, DNA mutations, and adverse birth outcomes. California’s Proposition 65 lists EtO as developmentally toxic, reproductively toxic (male and female), and as causing cancer. As more research has been done on EtO, we have realized how dangerous it really is. Most recently, in 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reclassified EtO as a Level 1 carcinogen, saying it was 30 times worse than previously thought [1].

Cancers associated with chronic exposure to EtO include but are not limited to leukemias, myelomas, lymphomas, breast cancer, stomach cancer, brain cancer, lung cancer, glioblastoma, and pancreatic cancer. As the same mutagenic processes which cause cancer also can result in birth defects in an unborn child, EtO is also considered a reproductive and developmental toxin.  Scientific and medical evidence shows that chronic exposure to EtO during pregnancy can lead to miscarriages, spontaneous abortion, and other adverse birth outcomes [2].

In 1991 NIOSH conducted an industry cohort study of 18,235 men and women exposed to EtO from 14 sterilizer plants around the country. This study evaluated mortality rates of exposed employees given the elevated risk for blood cancers in men and breast cancers in women exposed to ETO. NIOSH estimated that 270,000 people were exposed to ETO in the US in the 1980s, 21,000 through commercial sterilization [3].

 

Dangerous EtO exposure levels across the country

The EPA found “EtO emissions from sterilization facilities to be among the most hazardous air pollutants posing the greatest health risks in the largest number of urban areas” [4].

In June 2019 the EPA shut down the Illinois manufacturing plant of Sterigenics, a leading industrial sterilization company for medical device, pharma, commercial and food industries due to elevated levels of EtO found both inside and outside of the facility. Another Chicago facility, Medline Industries, also had to shut down to comply with EtO emission standards [5]. See below for a list of U.S. counties with the highest rates of EtO emissions [4]:

U.S. Counties with High EtO Cancer Risk

(>1:10,000 people, Source: EPA NATA)

County State Facility Total EtO Emissions (Tons/Year)
St. Charles Louisiana Union Carbide 15.03
Jefferson Texas Port Neches Plant 10.77
Webb Texas Midwest Sterilization Corp 7.86
Harrison Texas Texas Operations 7.4
Cape Girardeau Missouri Midwest Sterilization Corp 3.49
Lehigh Pennsylvania B Braun 3.3
Newton Georgia C R Bard 3.02
Kanawha West Virginia Union Carbide 2.9
Doña Ana New Mexico Sterigenics 2.88
DuPage Illinois Sterigenics 2.78
Iberville Louisiana BCP Ingredients 2.5
St. John the Baptist Louisiana Air Products Performance Manufacturing 1.61
Lake Illinois Medline Industries 1.53
New Castle Delaware CRODA Inc. 1.35
Jefferson Colorado TERUMO 1.11
Harris Texas Channelview Plant 0.95
Anasco Puerto Rico Edwards Lifesciences Corp 0.69
Warren New Jersey BASF 0.5

Trust our birth defect attorneys to help

The Thornton Law Firm has investigated cases in Missouri and Georgia on behalf of workers whose children suffered birth defects and persons with cancer from exposure to EtO.

Contact the Boston law firm of Thornton Law Firm online or at 844-999-6942 for a free consultation with a recognized leader in toxic tort and birth defect litigation. Toxic chemicals at your workplace may have caused your child’s birth defect. We offer a fair and accurate assessment of your case. You have nothing to risk.

Sources:

[1] EPA IRIS Executive Summary. “Ethylene oxide.” Retrieved October 19, 2020 from https://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/iris2/chemicalLanding.cfm?&substance_nmbr=1025.

[2] Rowland, A. “Ethylene oxide exposure may increase the risk of spontaneous abortion, preterm birth, and postterm birth.Epidemiology. 1996. Retrieved October 20, 2020 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8793361/.

[3] Steenland, K. “Mortality among workers exposed to ethylene oxide.” New England Journal of Medicine. 1991 May; 324(20):1402-1407. Retrieved October 21, 2020 from https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/nioshtic-2/00200974.html.

[4] West, D. “Action Needed to Protect Americans from Toxic EtO Pollution.” Natural Resources Defense Council. February 14, 2019. Retrieved October 19, 2020 from https://www.nrdc.org/experts/dan-west/action-needed-protect-americans-toxic-eto-pollution.

[4] Hawthorne, M. “Sterigenics is leaving Willowbrook, eliminating key source of cancer-causing ethylene oxide in Chicago’s western suburbs.” The Chicago Tribune. September 30, 2019. Retrieved October 19, 2020 from https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/environment/ct-sterigenics-ends-ethylene-oxide-operation-willowbrook-20190930-nkelcjshkbawdhxx2snjk3oaxe-story.html.

[5] Crotti, N. “Medline Industries temporarily halts EtO sterilization at Illinois plant.” Medical Design & Outsourcing. January 21, 2020. Retrieved October 20, 2020 from https://www.medicaldesignandoutsourcing.com/medline-industries-temporarily-halts-eto-sterilization-at-illinois-plant/.

 

 

 

 

 

Birth Defects from Plastics

Contact us today

Contact the Boston law firm of Thornton Law Firm LLP at 844-999-6942 or a free consultation with a recognized leader in personal injury litigation. For more information, please contact Thornton Law Firm for a free consultation.

 

Massachusetts birth defect lawyers holding plastics manufacturers accountable

Plastics is one of the largest manufacturing industries in the U.S., accounting for more than $400 billion in goods, employing 1 million American workers, and with around 18,500 manufacturing facilities covering every state [1]. Plastics manufacturing employment has grown in the U.S. from 1980 to 2015, in contrast to manufacturing as a whole.

The plastics manufacturing process is known to involve many kinds of toxic chemicals and solvents that cause cancer and birth defects (teratogens). These include but are not limited to aliphatic hydrocarbons, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), chlorinated solvents, dioxins, metals, oxygenated solvents, phthalates, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Specific chemicals include bisphenol-A (BPA), di-(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), dichlorethane, butane, toluene, butoxyethanol, propene, 2-propenoic acid, ethanol, acetone, phthalates, benzene, Methyl ethyl ketone, propanoic acid, and vinyl chloride [2].

Research shows that exposure to many of these chemicals and solvents can lead to serious long-term birth defects. Exposure is at its highest and most dangerous for workers involved directly in the manufacturing process, particularly pregnant mothers for whom the permeable placental barrier allows for the passage of harmful chemicals from mother to fetus. One study of 1,535 women employed at plastics companies found that those working in the most highly exposed jobs had children with lower birth weight [3]. Today, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, women make up 28% of employees in the plastics manufacturing industry.

While workplace exposure is typically strongest, environmental exposure to the toxic byproducts of plastics manufacturing also exists in areas of the U.S. with heavy manufacturing. Research has found “severe contamination of communities and waterways in the vicinity of VCM [vinyl chloride] production facilities…. In Louisiana, significantly elevated levels of dioxins have been found in the blood of people living near a VCM facility, several communities have been evacuated due to VCM contamination of groundwater, and extremely high levels of highly persistent, bioaccumulative byproducts attributable to VCM production have been found in local waterways” [4].

In some of these locations, residents are fighting back against plastics manufacturing as a public health and environmental crisis and as an example of environmental racism [5]. But companies won’t back down; more is needed to correct for the harmful effects of exposure to the toxic and teratogenic chemicals involved in the manufacturing of plastics.

This is an expansion of our existing practice of representing workers in manufacturing who are exposed to chemicals capable of causing birth defects. For years we have litigated complex workplace exposure cases, working with leading experts in the fields of public health, industrial hygiene, exposure assessment, and epidemiology. We have recovered significant multi-million dollar settlements on behalf birth defect victims and their families, allowing them to receive compensation and proper care for the rest of their lives.

 

Sources

 

[1] American Electric Power. (n.d.). Plastics Industry Thrives in U.S. and AEP States. Retrieved October 19, 2020 from https://aeped.com/plastics-industry-thrives-in-u-s-and-aep-states/.

 

[2] Halden, R. “Plastics and Health Risks.” Annual Review of Public Health. Vol. 31:179-194 (Volume publication date 21 April 2010). Retrieved October 19, 2020 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20070188/.

 

[3] Lemasters, G. “Reproductive outcomes of pregnant workers employed at 36 reinforced plastics companies. Lowered birth weight.” Journal of Occupational Medicine. February 1989. Retrieved October 20, 2020 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2709161/.

 

[4] Thornton, J. “Environmental Impacts of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Building Materials.” 2002. Retrieved October 19, 2020 from https://s3.amazonaws.com/hbnweb.prod/uploads/files/environmental-impacts-of-polyvinyl-chloride-building-materials.pdf.

 

[5] Baurick, T, et al. “Welcome to ‘Cancer Alley,’ Where Toxic Air Is About to Get Worse.” ProPublica. October 30, 2019. Retrieved October 19, 2020 from https://www.propublica.org/article/welcome-to-cancer-alley-where-toxic-air-is-about-to-get-worse.

Hernia Mesh Lawsuits

Patients who have been implanted with hernia mesh and subsequently suffered complications have filed lawsuits against the various manufacturers for design defects, manufacturing defects, negligence, and failure to warn patients and their doctors of known problems. The lawsuits request compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages and medical costs.

If you are concerned that your hernia mesh has failed, that you have suffered injury because of failed hernia mesh, or have any questions about your mesh implant, contact attorney Marilyn McGoldrick at 1-(866) 469-6374, or tell us your story HERE. The consultation is free and completely confidential.  The time limits for filing claims hernia mesh manufacturers and distributors are short and strictly enforced. Call now for a consultation with an attorney with years of experience litigating hernia mesh cases.

What is a Hernia?

A hernia occurs when a piece of tissue that should be inside the body begins to protrude outside the body. Hernias can be caused by a weakness in a part of the body, by overexertion, or because of certain medical conditions, like obesity.  Common hernia sites include at the bellybutton (umbilical), inner groin (inguinal), outer groin or thigh (femoral), the diaphragm or upper stomach (hiatal) or at a surgical or incision site (ventral). Each type of hernia requires medical intervention to put, and hold, the protruding tissue back where it should be.

What is Hernia Mesh?

Surgeries to repair hernias often involve hernia mesh, a piece of material that is placed to hold the protruding tissue in place. Hernia mesh sometimes comes in what is called a plug, shaped like a little umbrella, or in larger sheets. Mesh can be woven or unwoven. It can be inserted using a laparascopic method, or in a traditional surgical manner using a large incision. Hernia mesh can be made out of synthetic materials, or actual tissue (from humans, pigs, or cows).

Do I Have A Hernia Mesh Lawsuit?

Synthetic hernia mesh is the basis of most hernia mesh lawsuits. There are many ways in which hernia mesh can be defective. It can migrate, erode, shrink or contract, harden, fold, extrude, fail to adhere to the hernia site or the abdominal wall, obstruct the bowel, or perforate an organ. 

Have Any Hernia Meshes Been Recalled?

Yes.

C-QUR Mesh was recalled by Atrium in 2013. More than 145,000 units were recalled for packaging problems.  In 2015, when the problems were not resolved by Atrium, the court issued a permanent injunction stopping the distribution of all products, except those not deemed medically necessary.  The product is still on the market.

Physiomesh was recalled by Ethicon (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson) in 2016. The product had a higher rate of failure and risk of revision surgery compared with other hernia mesh products.

There are several other hernia mesh products on the market that are the subject of litigation.  Synthetic hernia mesh continues to be used in hernia repair surgeries.

What are the symptoms of hernia mesh failure?

  • Infection
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Heat, soreness around surgery site
  • Severe, chronic pain
  • Allergic reactions
  • Cramping
  • Protrusion of mesh
  • Lump near surgery site
  • Bloating 
  • Inability to pass stool
  • Hernia recurrence

What complications can hernia mesh cause?

  • Internal injuries
  • Mesh adhesion
  • Mesh failure
  • Allergic reactions
  • Rejection
  • Organ perforation

Revision surgery

Seek medical attention immediately if you believe your hernia mesh implant is causing you problems. If your original hernia mesh has failed, revision surgery may be required. It can be more complicated than the original surgery, because the hernia mesh must be dealt with as well as the hernia, and it may have eroded, migrated, perforated a nearby organ, become infected, or your body may have rejected the mesh entirely. The first step in evaluating your claim, is obtaining the necessary medical records.

Trust Our Hernia Mesh Attorneys to Help

Thornton Law Firm litigates hernia mesh lawsuits against manufacturers and distributors of defective hernia mesh throughout the country. 

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Semiconductor Industry

Championing victims of toxic substances in clean rooms

Medical and scientific literature has shown that exposure to some chemicals and other toxic substances used in the manufacture of semiconductor chips can cause severe and lasting personal injury.   In particular, certain chemicals used in clean rooms, including ethylene glycol ether, have been linked to reproductive problems among workers, including infertility, subfertility, miscarriage, and birth defects in their children. In addition, several chemicals have been linked to cancer.

Early successes in toxic semiconductor litigation

Thornton Law Firm LLP in Boston has been at the forefront of litigation against the semiconductor chip manufacturing industry.

In 2001, after three years of litigation, Thornton Law Firm successfully settled one of the first lawsuits in the country involving a semiconductor chip clean room worker.  Ironically, clean rooms were so named because conditions such as air ventilation were designed to protect chips—but not the health of the workers.   Clean room workers breathe re-circulated air contaminated with solvents.

Thornton Law Firm continues to represent workers in the semiconductor chip manufacturing industry suffering from health problems.  Our clients include children of clean room workers who were born with birth defects, including—

  • Skeletal deformities
  • Heart anomalies
  • Shortened or missing limbs
  • Missing organs
  • Blindness
  • Spina bifida
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Retardation
  • Genetic damage
  • Kidney problems

These birth defects may have occurred as a result of their parents’ exposure to various toxic chemicals during gestation.  Our clients have causes of action against the companies that are manufacturing semiconductor chips, as well as against the manufacturers of the chemicals that caused their injuries.  As a result, workers and their children may be entitled to recover substantial legal damages.

Read more about birth defects for additional information.

Thornton Law Firm occupational disease attorneys

Please visit our significant cases page to see our successes in semiconductor chip exposure cases.

Trust our Massachusetts semiconductor chip exposure lawyers to help

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

Birth Defects & Solvents


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Lawyers championing birth defect victims nationwide

Thornton Law Firm in Boston, Massachusetts aggressively litigates legal claims on behalf of children born with major malformations and other serious birth defects caused by exposure to solvents containing toxicants that are hazardous to reproduction.

Using well-established and cutting edge research in epidemiology, toxicology, genetics, and exposure assessment, the firm pursues claims against companies in many industries, including furniture making, industrial manufacturing, scientific laboratories, and others where workers are exposed to toxic chemicals.

It is well-established in scientific literature that certain toxic chemicals can cross the placenta and affect the unborn child, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy. Literature also supports claims based on preconception exposure of either the mother or the father. Such exposures permit us to file a legal action on behalf of a child with birth defects directly against the child’s parent’s employer for unsafe working conditions, and claims against the manufacturer and supplier of the damaging industrial solvents.

Further, parents may have substantial loss-of-consortium claims against the manufacturer and supplier because of the long-term disability suffered by these children.

Background on birth defects

A major congenital (present at birth) malformation is perhaps the most catastrophic, long-term, debilitating injury a human being can suffer. Birth defects are major abnormalities of the body’s structure or function that result in physical or mental disability or death. Many children do not survive birth defects—they are the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Annually, between 120,000 and 250,000 newborns, or 3.5% to 8.8 % of all babies born in the United States, suffer from birth defects.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates for the annual number of major birth defects are [1]:

  • Orofacial clefts – 7,088 cases
    • Cleft lip
    • Cleft palate
  • Central nervous system – 2,660 cases
    • Spina bifida
    • Anencephaly
    • Encephalocele
  • Cardiovascular defects – 6,136 cases
  • Other structural birth defects – 8,746 cases
    • Gastrointestinal defects
    • Musculoskeletal defects

Often, children with a major structural birth defect also suffer from significant, related developmental disabilities. Indeed, high percentages of children with cerebral palsy or mental retardation have been found to have structural defects. Surgery is available to correct or improve certain cosmetic and functional aspects of birth defects, such as cleft palates and certain cardiac conditions. However, many birth defects, such as those related to the central nervous system, cannot be repaired by medical intervention. The result is a permanent disability. Children who do survive often spend their adult lives living with family members or in assisted care facilities.

Causes of birth defects

Recognized causes of birth defects include:

  • Genetics
  • Maternal conditions, infections, deformities
  • Chemicals
  • Alcohol
  • Drugs
  • Other external agents exposures (teratogens)

Epidemiologic studies, animal studies, and case reports strongly support the causal relationship between birth defects and exposure to chemicals contained in industrial solvents. These studies most strongly associate solvent exposure to the following types of birth defects:

  • Cleft palate and cleft lip
  • Neural tube defects
    • Anencephaly (underdeveloped or malformed brain)
    • Spina bifida
  • Other central nervous system defects
    • Hydrocephalus (fluid in the brain)
    • Cerebral palsy
  • Cardiovascular defects
  • Digestive anomalies

Occupations with significant exposure to solvents containing teratogens

An analysis of industry data and the published epidemiology identifying elevated rates of birth defects in certain occupations show there are industries which utilize large quantities of organic solvents likely to contain teratogens. Thornton Law Firm has identified the following industries and occupations as the most likely source of birth defects from these chemical exposures:

  • Furniture making
  • Manufacturing of industrial machinery and equipment
  • Microelectronics and semiconductor manufacturing
  • Medical and scientific laboratories
  • Commercial printing
  • Cosmetology and hairdresser products
  • Plastics industry
  • Textile industry

Teratogen toxicology

The teratogenesis of a substance is usually determined by animal studies. These studies have found that one third of industrial solvents tested were found to be teratogenic in laboratory animals. Additionally, animal studies have established that the route of exposure (i.e. inhalation, ingestion, skin contact) is particularly critical in determining whether a solvent is teratogenic.

Epidemiological and toxicological data indicate that the teratogenic chemicals contained in industrial solvents are:

  • Glycol ethers
  • Aliphatic chlorinated hydrocarbons
    • Trichloroethylene
    • Perchloroethylene (Perc)
    • Dichloroethane
  • Aromatic hydrocarbons
    • Benzene
    • Toluene
  • Ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol)
  • Isopropanol (also known as isopropyl alcohol)

Epidemiologic evidence linking solvents to birth defects

Since the late 1970s, epidemiological studies have found associations between birth defects and exposures to industrial solvents used in different occupations.

The leading study was conducted in six regions of Europe by Dr. Sylvaine Cordier and her colleagues in the Occupational Exposure and Congenital Malformations Working Group and involved 984 cases with major malformations (cleft lips and defects of the neural tube, cardiovascular system, central nervous system, and musculoskeletal system). Researchers found that women whose children had birth defects were 1.4 times more likely to have been occupationally exposed to glycol ethers than women whose children were born without defects [2]. In a prior study, Dr. Cordier had found a 4.5-fold increased risk of congenital malformations following maternal exposure to solvents, predominantly in occupations involving cleaners [3].

Exposure to aliphatic chlorinated hydrocarbons such as trichloroethylene, perchloroethylene, and dichloroethane has been associated with cardiac birth defects in numerous animal studies [4]. Additionally, research on human populations has shown a greater than expected number of infants born with heart defects in areas where drinking water was contaminated with trichloroethylene [5]. In another large study, researchers found an increased incidence of cardiac malformations in children born to mothers who lived in areas with water contaminated with dichloroethylenes and dichloroethanes [6].

Research conducted in the San Francisco Bay area has shown that the presence of birth defects correlates with the level of industrial pollutants. A 1992 study found that mothers of children with birth defects were 1.5 times more likely to have lived near a contamination site than those whose children did not have birth defects [7]. The fact that the specific defects found in the human studies are consistent with those defects observed in the animal studies is quite significant.

Maternal occupational exposure to organic solvents like toluene, benzene, and xylene is significantly associated with malformations at birth, according to epidemiological literature. In a large meta-analysis of 559 studies, Kristen McMartin and her colleagues at the Motherisk Program in Toronto, Canada concluded that maternal occupational exposure to organic solvents is associated with an increased risk of major malformations [8].

A case report study found that children born to women who inhaled toluene while working throughout their pregnancy all manifested some common birth defects, including microcephaly, CNS dysfunction, and minor craniofacial and limb anomalies [9]. Other case reports and epidemiological studies show that exposure to organic solvents (toluene, benzene, and xylene) while working increases a mother’s risk of having a child with a congenital defect.

Current solvent litigation

In addition to nearly 100 cases filed by Thornton Law Firm involving birth defects and parental solvent exposure in the semiconductor manufacturing industry, we are currently litigating cases involving birth defects arising from exposures in scientific laboratories, furniture making, and heavy machinery manufacturing.

Our experience has convinced us that further litigation is warranted to expose this largely overlooked public health hazard and to provide relief to those with the greatest need.

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.

 

 

Sources

[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2013, July 15). Birth Defects: Data & Statistics. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved July 31, 2013

[2] Cordier S, Bergeret A, Goujard J, et al. Congenital malformations and maternal occupational exposure to glycol ethers. Epidemiology. 1997;8(4):355-63.

[3] Cordier S, Ha M-C, Ayme S, Goujard J. Maternal occupational exposure and congenital malformations. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health. 1992;18(1):11-17.

[4] Johnson PD, Dawson B V, Goldberg SJ. A Review: Trichloroethylene Metabolites: Potential Cardiac Teratogens. Environmental Health Perspectives. 1998;106(Supp 4):995-99.

[5] Goldberg SJ, Lebowitz MD, Graver EJ, Hicks S. An association of human congenital cardiac malformations and drinking water contaminants. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 1990;16(1):155-64.

[6] Bove FJ, Fulcomer MC, Klotz JB, Esmart J, Dufficy EM, Savrin JE. Public Drinking Water Contamination and Birth Outcomes. American Journal of Epidemiology. 1995;141(9):850-62.

[7] Shaw GM, Schulman J, Frisch JD, CumminsSK, Harris JA. Congenital malformations and birthweight in areas with potential environmental contamination. Archives of Environmental Health. 1992;47(2):147-54.

[8] McMartin KI, Chu M, Kopecky E, Einarson TR, Koren G. Pregnancy outcome following maternal organic solvent exposure: a meta-analysis of epidemiologic studies. American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 1998;34:288-92.

[9] Hersh JH, Podruch PE, Rogers G, Weisskopf B. Toluene embryopathy. Journal of Pediatrics. 1985;106(6):922-7.

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