Health Risks Associated with PCB Exposure

By on 5-04-2013 in Auto Accidents

Polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs refer to a group of up to 209 chemical compounds that were widely used as coolants and insulators for a variety of industrial and commercial purposes. These compounds have unique properties that make them particularly useful for capacitors, transformers, and other electrical equipment. PCBs are known to have electrical insulating qualities, and are nonflammable and able to withstand very high temperatures. Aside from electrical tools and construction materials, PCBs were also used for a variety of commercial products like flameproof Christmas trees.

Before the U.S. government imposed a ban against the use and manufacture of PCBs in 1979, these widely used chemical mixtures were solely produced by the agrochemical company Monsanto under the brand name Aroclor. Monstanto monopolized the PCBs market for almost 4 decades until controversy regarding its safety to human health and the environment came to light. It was soon found that Monsanto had long been aware of the toxicity problem of the product they were manufacturing. In fact, internal communications that surfaced during a long legal battle showed that they actively tried to hide the devastating effects caused by PCB contamination to water sources near their Anniston, Alabama chemical plant. Because of public pressure, the production of Monsanto PCBs came to a full stop two years before the federal ban.

Today, the health risks associated with PCB exposure have been well-researched and established by the scientific community. The Environmental Protection Agency recognizes PCBs as probable human carcinogen. They also point out that prolonged PCB exposure can cause other non-cancer health conditions. In particular, researchers have found that PCBs can affect the immune, nervous, endocrine, and reproductive systems of animals and humans. PCB exposure is also known to cause liver damage and chloracne, a severe acne-like skin irritation. Some studies on animals also found that PCB can cause birth defects and other fetal health issues.

Tips To Finding A Lawyer That Works For You

By on 5-04-2013 in Auto Accidents

Have you found yourself with a court case and not sure how to find the right attorney. Maybe you’re friends don’t have experience with this specific type of case, and they don’t know where to point. Or maybe you’re looking for a lawyer that you can establish a long-term business relationship with. Keep reading to learn more.

You may find that your friends, family, and coworkers can provide a wealth of information when it comes to finding a lawyer who can best fit your needs. Ask around and see what experiences people have had with particular lawyers, or if they have any advice for you based on their circumstances.

If you need a good lawyer, ask your friends, relatives and colleagues if they know anyone. It is best to get a recommendation from someone you trust rather than hiring a lawyer who spends a lot on promotional campaigns. If you cannot get a recommendation, do some background research on different lawyers.

When looking for a good lawyer, make sure to obtain personal references. Talking to the local community that have experienced issues similar to you. For instance, if you’re a victim of sexual harassment, speak with a women’s group. Ask them about the lawyers they had and what their experiences were like.

Check for your lawyer’s record to see the accomplishments that they have in their field and whether or not there are any issues in the past. For example, Pohl and Berk have their accomplishments displayed prominently on their website. The object is to get the best lawyer available in your budget, so do your research to find one that fits the bill. This choice can make a large difference in your life if you are facing a serious issue.

Now that you’re aware of what it takes to find a good attorney, get to shopping! With the tips you’ve learned, you should find it fairly easy to locate the right attorney for your case. You can now share this knowledge so your friends and family will be able to use it as well.

Penalties For Possession of Marijuana

By on 5-04-2013 in Auto Accidents

Marijuana, the common name for plants of the cannabis genus, is one of the most common recreational drugs in America. Possession of marijuana is considered a criminal offense, and an individual doesn’t have to own the marijuana themselves to be convicted. The amount of marijuana you have been caught with will determine your penalties, although there are other factors such as earlier convictions and other offenses which can also affect sentencing. In general, however, the more marijuana in an individual’s possession, the harsher the penalties will be.

Possession of large amounts of marijuana can put you in danger of being charged with drug trafficking, and this can lead to serious penalties. However, there are several factors that courts look into when deciding on your penalties which may mitigate the seriousness of the charges, such as;

  • Misdemeanor penalties – people who are caught for the first time with marijuana are sometimes only charged with a misdemeanor and have penalties that include a fines, suspension of drivers license, and relatively short jail sentences. If it is your first offense, you can ask the court to discharge the case against you, or could opt to meet certain conditions pertaining to your penalties and ask the court not to put it on your criminal record.
  • Felony penalties – those who have already have a history of marijuana possession charges may be charged with a felony. The penalties for this charge are often much higher.

Being charged with marijuana possession can have serious ramifications, with consequences that may affect the individual for the rest of their life. It can restrict your employment options, your ability to obtain a loan, and many other issues. Complex legal issues and serious convictions can take a toll on your life, so if you have been charged with marijuana possession, it is always best to contact a lawyer.

Contacting a lawyer is essential in making sure that you are best protected. If you have been wrongly or too harshly charged, an experienced lawyer will be able to effectively defend you, making sure that you get the best results.

Surgical Errors Costly for Patients

By on 5-04-2013 in Auto Accidents

It seems that robots designed to assist surgeons in certain operations are becoming more human every day. A recent incident reported involved the most classic of surgical errors: retained surgical instrument.

Roughly 80% of all robot-assisted operations are gynecologic in nature, such as hysterectomies. The most recent adverse event which captured the media’s assistance was the case of a Portland woman who complained of chronic abdominal pain shortly after having a da Vinci robot-assisted hysterectomy in 2012. After months of enduring the pain and going through a whole gamut of treatments, it was finally discovered through an X-ray that a metallic piece from the robot had broken off and had been left behind. It seemed too incredible to be true.

There were 367,000 procedures done using the da Vinci Surgical System in 2012, and a relatively small number of adverse events have been reported with its use, certainly not much different for what has been reported for a relatively similar approach using a laparoscopy, which is also minimally invasive. But because Intuitive Surgical Inc., manufacturer of the da Vinci robot, had made such glowing announcements about the technology, people expected much more than the system could deliver. Moreover, there were implied and expressed guarantees to surgeons reluctant to try the system that led to preventable surgical errors arising from inadequate training in its use.

According to the National Injury Law Center, many of the patients who had a negative experience with the da Vinci system had to have additional surgery to rectify surgical injuries; and those were the fortunate ones. Others had irreparable damage done, leaving them with diminished capacities. Some have even led to death. While any surgery carries risks, the use of robot-assisted technology has opened up new vistas in surgical errors, which is why Intuitive is being sued for these injuries rather than the surgeons or hospitals.

Supreme Court Ruling Upholds DNA Testing of Violent Criminals

By on 5-04-2013 in Auto Accidents

Supreme Court DNA RulingIn a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court decided that it is not a violation of constitutional rights to take DNA samples from suspects of violent crimes at the time of arrest.

The majority’s opinion, written by justice Anthony Kennedy, likened the practice to fingerprinting and photographing, both crucial measures already practiced by law enforcement to help them identify and convict suspects. The decision will help police identify criminals who have been tied to multiple crimes and may even exonerate individuals who are wrongfully behind bars.

However, the opposing justices see the measure as an drastic increase in police powers and believe that allowing DNA samples to be extracted upon arrest for violent crimes will lead to the same being allowed for nonviolent offenses. Prior to this decision, it has been normal practice to collect DNA samples after a criminal is convicted of an offense rather than at the time of arrest.

More than half of the states and the federal government already allow DNA swabbing at the time of arrest. Of course for a person’s DNA to be of any use in court, investigators will have to have found a matching sample at the scene of a crime to use as evidence.