In short, yes. Due to environmental pollution, exposure at work, industrial accidents or other causes, chemicals end up in our food and drink, the soil and water around us, even in the air we breathe. Toxins that attack the nervous system, in particular, are called neurotoxins. Some of these chemicals can cause serious brain damage if victims are exposed to large quantities or exposed regularly.
The following are some all-too-common toxic chemicals:
- Carbon monoxide is a chemical found in smoke, car exhaust and the exhaust of other machines. People are commonly exposed to carbon monoxide from generators, furnaces or cars in a room without enough ventilation; some are exposed when trapped inside a burning building. Survivors of carbon monoxide poisoning may have depression, dementia, trouble with motor skills, speech disturbances, loss of short-term memory and Parkinson’s disease-like symptoms. These are in addition to non-neurological symptoms.
- Lead mimics minerals that the body needs to function; the effect is lead poisoning. Lead poisoning is most common in children young enough to put inappropriate things in their mouths, who live in buildings with lead paint. It may also affect people exposed to leaded gasoline and those who are exposed through work or living near a factory. Lead poisoning reduces IQ and causes learning disabilities, insomnia, lethargy or hyperactivity, irritability, seizures, and coma. It also affects the digestive system, the kidneys, and reproductive organs.
- Pesticides are poisons meant to kill household and agricultural pests. Farm workers are at especially high risk for chronic pesticide exposure. Though aimed at insects, some pesticides (organophosphates) are close relatives of nerve agents, neurotoxins used by the military and by terrorists. Recent research has linked pesticide exposure to Parkinson’s Disease and hyperactivity, as well as muscle and respiratory weakness, blurred vision, memory problems confusion, and at high enough levels, organ failure.
- Solvents are chemical solutions with a variety of purposes — ammonia, benzene, dry cleaning chemicals band detergents are all solvents. Used in industrial processes, solvents don’t break down easily and thus can contaminate the environment for decades after they’re released. Though many are useful to humans, they can be highly hazardous, causing loss of consciousness, headaches, confusion, dementia, balance problems, loss of vision, memory problems and attention deficit.
These are just some of the more common of the many chemicals and elements that can cause serious neurological problems in human beings who are overexposed to them. If you or someone you love has been permanently damaged by exposure to these or other chemicals, you should call the Northern California brain injury lawyers at Gillin, Jacobson, Ellis & Larsen as soon as possible. With more than 30 years serving brain-injured and other seriously injured clients, we can help you pin down symptoms, explain your case to a jury and win you the best possible outcome in court. For a free consultation, call us today at 1-866-765-4643.