The plaintiff was concerned that the residues of toxic metals found in coal ash were causing physical damage to the plaintiff's unborn children and to the plaintiff's ability to have normal children. The plaintiff reported prior attempts to conceive a full-term child were unsuccessful. While the cause of these earlier attempts to deliver a child to full-term were unknown, the facts were that the plaintiff resided nearby a coal-fired power plant waste storage area and drew her drinking water from a shallow well. The neighborhood consisted of small individual homes each with a separate well. There had been concerns of coal ash waste runoff migrating into local water supplies.
Dr. Troast reviewed the plaintiff's daily diet to rule out dietary issues. In conducting the analysis he determined that the plaintiff during pregnancies drank citrus drinks with a low pH. Reviewing the literature he determined that pH influences the absorption of certain elements such as lead, arsenic, cadmium and aluminum all of which have been noted to cause reproductive effects in females. He also determined that each of these elements were found in coal ash waste. Dr Troast constructed a scenario that outlined the key toxic effects of the metals and related these to known reproductive effects and related the doses of the laboratory animals to exposures that the plaintiff received in her drinking water supply.
This case was settled outside of trial.
Richard Troast, PhD was a senior scientist at the US EPA in the Hazardous Waste Program in Washington DC until his retirement in 2005. He has over 30 years' experience in toxicological and environmental assessments.
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