The Toxic Substances Emitted by Diesel

The stunt pulled off by Volkswagen, equipping its diesel vehicles with a defeat device, a computer software that is capable of automatically altering its vehicle’s engine operation and speed if it is being tested, was definitely a bold move. However, cheating its way into US market by making it appear that its cars produced clean diesel was a clear breach of public trust and an endangerment of public health, according to the US Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.

Cars that run on diesel may be the future of vehicles driven on American roads and highways; for the meantime, however, this is not an immediately foreseeable possibility due to the greater human health and environmental hazards produced by diesel.

While cars running on diesel engine abound in Europe, in the US these only made up about 3.2% of the total auto sales in the year 2012. This is because though diesel is 20% to 40% more efficient than gasoline, it is known to produce particulate matter and nitrogen oxide (NOx) which are more toxic than carbon dioxide, the global-warming gas emitted by gasoline-run engines.

The question that may pop up here is how is it that cars and trucks that use diesel, despite the threat of nitrogen oxide, are allowed to continue running on US roads and highways whereas cars produced by Volkswagen, which number close to half a million, have to be recalled? The answer, according to the US Department of Energy, is the use of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel which greatly reduces the stinky, sooty substance that diesel usually emits; of course, there is also the fact that carmakers have found a very effective means of trapping the type of air pollution emitted by diesel. Volkswagen, it seems is not aware of these, otherwise, it would have resorted to any of these two rather than resort to cheating – by equipping its diesel cars with a defeat device designed to reduce the emission of nitrogen oxides during testing. Outside a controlled environment, however, Volkswagen diesel cars are said to be emitting pollutants that are 10% to 40% higher than the limit set by the Environmental Protection Agency-enforced Clean Air Act.

Volkswagen diesel cars can definitely assure fuel economy and more mileage; but one other thing it has also assured is the buildup of rage among car owners and environmentalists.

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How an IVC Filter can lead to Death

Pulmonary embolism is a severe risk for those who suffer from blood clots in other areas of the body. A leading cause of death, pulmonary embolism can occur if these blood clots migrate to the lungs. Due to the severe risks of this, IVC filters were created. These filters have been used since the 1970’s and are designed to catch blood clots with its cage-like legs before they can travel to the lungs. The device and its model have steadily increased since its inception, with more than 259,000 filters being used by the year 2012.

However, the very device used to prevent pulmonary embolisms in individuals suffering from deep venous thrombosis has been connected to deadly symptoms itself. The Bard G2 IVC Filter has been linked to 27 deaths and 300 injuries since its inception in 2005. While some minor symptoms can occur such as a headaches and chest pain, according to the website of Habush, Habush, and Rottier, they may be signs of deadlier consequences. Death has been linked to the filter mainly through migration or fracture of the device. When the legs of the filter break off, they often travel through the blood stream to other organs of the body, puncturing them. The device often migrates away from where it was surgically implanted as well, rendering the filter ineffective and leading to deadly consequences. Many individuals can also suffer severe heart injuries if the device migrates or breaks off near the heart, possibly leading to death.

The devastating and life-changing consequences of the device continue to grow in number as individuals are still dealing with the effects of the filter. Unfortunately, in the worst cases, the complications associated with the filter can lead to death, making it vital to be aware of the risks of the filter. If you have been implanted with a Bard G2 IVC Filter, contact a lawyer to learn more about your options.

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Who Is Entitled to File a Wrongful Death Claim?

To act with responsibility so as not to put anyone’s life in danger is both a moral and legal duty of any person. All human laws basically point to this, promoting and commanding at the same time respect for properties and, most importantly, human life.

It is for such reason why manufacturers of consumer goods have standards to comply with, why health care experts, like doctors, go through rigorous study and training, and pursue continuous growth, why laws that mandate the creation of a safe and healthy working environment have been passed, and why drivers, especially of commercial vehicles, are required to enroll in professional driving schools where they will learn and develop the skills necessary for safe driving.

Negligence or recklessness, however, continue to be the dominant behavior of so many people, choosing the excitement of taking risks over the safety of all those around them. Thus, because of these negligent or reckless acts, millions of accidents happen every year, accidents that injure millions of people and claim thousands of innocent lives. These injuries and loss of lives usually result from medical malpractice, car, truck, motorcycle or bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, defective products, poorly maintained premises, and workplace accidents.

Under the law, negligence has one presupposed factor: strict liability. This presupposed factor legally holds the negligent individual totally accountable for whatever result his/her negligent behavior leads to, whether injury of loss of life.

In the event of death, the victim’s surviving family, legally called the “real parties in interest,” may file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit through its chosen representative (may be a lawyer or any family member). The “real parties in interest,” first and foremost, refers to the dead victim’s, or decedent’s, husband/wife and children, whether biological or adopted). If the decedent was unmarried then the parents are the first in line. If the parents, however, are already dead, then some states consider the following persons as “real parties in interest”:

  • Those who were financially dependent on the victim, such as a life partner or a putative spouse. A putative spouse is someone who sincerely believes that he/she and the decedent were married
  • Grandparents and siblings
  • Any person whom the decedent cared for or supported while he/she was still alive, but who will definitely suffer financially due to the victim’s untimely death.

The victim’s untimely death can certainly cause devastating financial effects to his/her family and recognized dependents, making the need for compensation an immediate matter. While the law allows any family member to be the (family’s) representative, if this person lacks knowledge about the laws governing wrongful death and wrongful death claims, then it will do much good for the family to seek the help of a seasoned wrongful death lawyer, such as one from Louisville.

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Health Effects of PCBs

Studies show that polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs are definitely pollutants, and they are definitely toxic. Various lab animals exposed to varying levels of PCBs demonstrated adverse health effects, which were fatal at high doses. There are no conclusive study on humans as of yet, but it would be safe to infer that PCB exposure will also have deleterious, possibly carcinogenic, effects.

PCBs are synthetic organic compounds of chlorine and benzene concocted by German scientists in 1881. It served as a coolant for machines and insulation for electrical components. Swann Chemical Company first produced the PCBs in North America in 1929. Monsanto PCBs came into being when Monsanto Company took over production from Swann in 1935, and began selling PCBs under the brand Aroclor in the US. PCBs are persistent in nature, and released in the environment through use and manufacture.

There are 209 types of PCBs and they have various levels of toxicity, apparently dependent on how many chlorine atoms attach to the two benzene rings (biphenyls) in a PCB molecule. The more chlorine atoms, the less soluble it is in water. There are 7 PCB types that were widely used in North America until 1979, when the US Congress halted the production of PCBs.

The issues with PCBs are due mainly to its similarity in structure and toxic modality to dioxins, which are persistent organic pollutants. They get into everything: the soil, the water, and the air. They are very hard to get rid of, and so the risk of exposure is very high. Dioxins and PCBs are absorbed into the fatty tissue of animals, including humans, and affect vital organs.

PCBs are excellent for industrial applications, because they are very stable and resistant to degradation. However, this also makes them very dangerous to humans and the environment in general. Direct exposure is not necessary: a husband can bring it home on his clothes and affect his wife and children; a previously exposed mother can pass the PCBs in her body on to a breastfeeding infant. While there is no definite proof yet that PCBs are harmful to humans, scientists believe that it is only a matter of time before the first toxic exposure victims step forward.

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SXSW: What Are You Waiting For?

Are you interested in film, music, and interactive? Then surely you have already heard about the South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival in Austin?

Well, just in case you haven’t – SXSW is a week-long festival that occurs in Austin, Texas. This event has been going on since 1987, during a time when Austin was not even considered as one of the top 20 major markets! However, with its great potential and fair metropolitan, it was only ever the perfect venue for such a festival! Not to mention that place has been the place to be for a party – dating as far back as the 19th century!

This March, many celebrities will be in attendance – as well as musical groups and over a hundred worldwide premieres on site! These ten days are a promise of collaboration and celebration of each other’s accomplishments as tens of thousands of artists from all over the world come together in order to share their work, have their voices be heard? There are meet-ups with experts and enthusiasts galore as this really is the place to be, if film, music, and interactive is your scene!

SXSW limo ridesWhat better way than to arrive in style via a limousine ride from the Austin airport? Every comfort and every luxury is one you have well-deserved and seeing as traffic is abominable at busy times around Austin, such as this, then parking is only ever going to be a bigger nightmare. There is so much to do and so many things to see and people to meet at SXSW; do you really want that time hindered by something so easily corrected such as parking? This is not a time to sacrifice comfort as these are times and experiences you will want to remember for the rest of your life and in these times, you too are a star and deserve all the things that come with it!

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