The successful attorney-chemical expert “dyad” is, in my opinion, critically dependent on creating a trusting, workable, two-way communication. The expert must be able to educate the attorney in the complexities of the subject case, so that the attorney is comfortable in mediation or court procedures.
A batch of 100 pound boxes of packaged seasoning mix produced was left in the processor's warehouse overnight and was found to be smoldering in the morning. The pallet of smoldering 100-pound poly-boxes of the seasoning blend was moved to just outside the building, whereupon it ignited and engulfed in flames the nearby outside stored drums of other food products, ultimately causing the building itself to catch fire. The entire building and its contents burned to the ground, causing loss exceeding $2 million dollars worth of product and total loss of the building.
Remember the good old days when our homes were built with only lumber, dry-wall, and roofing? Me neither. However, we talk about 'modern' construction materials like this is a new phenomenon. The truth is 'modern' construction materials started sneaking into homes over fifty years ago. It's not only construction materials that have changed: a century ago, we furnished our houses with wood, cloth, metal, and glass. Today, it's plastics, foams, and coatings.
Our client, a large multi-national chemical company, approached us with a unique environmental challenge: (1) soil and groundwater at our client's former chemical plant property contained several types of contaminants, (2) our client had a potential buyer for the property, (3) the regulators were both risk-averse and inflexible, and (4) our client's local consultant had already proposed a conventional, but expensive, remediation. There was a lot of work to be done to satisfy both our client and the regulator.
Hazard recognition plays a vital role in keeping employees safe. Some hazards are easily recognized, for example an employee climbing up a 20-ft ladder while holding tools in both hands is an obvious fall hazard. While some safety hazards are immediately recognizable, others require training to spot and avoid. One such hazard is hydrogen sulfide (H2S). Training is a key method to avoid the "ostrich zone." You do not want to bury your head when facing this hazard.
A slip or trip and fall accident can occur in almost any location, from a wet floor in the grocery store to a dangerously uneven sidewalk. Not every situation gives rise to legal liability, but valid slip and fall claims are filed and settled every year.
On December 3, 1984, at a pesticide ingredient manufacturing facility owned by Union Carbide, a leak occurred in the Methyl Isocyanate (MIC) plant. Due to the toxic nature of the gases released and the plant's proximity to local residences, the death toll was in the thousands; both plant workers and nearby residents. The first recorded public meeting in response to this incident was on December 9th, in Institute, WV, the site of Union Carbide's only US MIC production unit. Full disclosure: my father was a research & development chemist for Union Carbide and Institute is about 10 miles down the Kanawha River from my hometown of Charleston, WV.
The use of synthetic field turf or grass on athletic and recreational fields has increased significantly over the last 40 years primarily because of their durability and low maintenance. However, agency reports and published literature have heightened the public awareness of the potential health risks associated with the chemical constituents present in these synthetic fields.
Hazardous waste is a waste with properties that make it potentially dangerous or harmful to human health or the environment. The universe of hazardous wastes is large and diverse. Hazardous wastes can be liquids, solids, or contained gases. They can be discrete chemical compounds, mixtures of compounds, or simply have some property that makes them hazardous. In regulatory terms, a hazardous waste is a waste that appears on one of the four RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) hazardous wastes lists (the F-list, K-list, P-list, or U-list) or that exhibits one of the four characteristics of a hazardous waste - ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or toxicity.