Water and Soil Contamination Attorneys Boston, Malden

Fresh, clean drinking water is one of our most valuable resources.  We often take its purity and safety for granted.  Unfortunately, as more chemicals are introduced into the environment, there is a greater chance of potential contamination to your drinking water. Rodman, Rodman & Sandman provide legal representation to cities, towns, water districts, and individuals, in Massachusetts and nationwide, whose drinking water may have been compromised or tainted as a result of a leak or spill of a contaminant. If you have suffered water or soil contamination, contact our environmental attorneys, serving Boston, Malden, and Somerville, to schedule a consultation.

Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether - MTBE

Presently, we represent 80 Massachusetts cities, towns, and water districts as a result of detections of Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) in their public water supplies.  MTBE is a chemical that is blended into gasoline by oil refiners.  MTBE is highly soluble and can contaminate soil and ground water easily.  MTBE has a low taste and odor threshold, meaning that even at low levels individuals can taste the presence of the chemical in the water.  The United States Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that MTBE is an animal carcinogen and poses a carcinogenic potential to humans.

Because the oil companies are responsible for mixing MTBE with gasoline, we have brought claims against the oil companies seeking damages and remediation.   These cases are prosecuted against the largest oil companies in the world, including ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Shell, CITGO, and Sunoco, among others, who have added MTBE into gasoline.  Our lawsuit against these companies has resulted in a total recovery nationwide of $437 million dollars, of which $87 million has gone to Massachusetts clients.

Other Dangerous Chemicals

It is our goal to help municipalities, water districts, and individuals protect this precious resource and to help recover damages in the event of water or soil contamination by MTBE or other dangerous chemicals. Our attorneys have put together a list of other chemicals that can cause contamination to water supplies, including:

  • Atrazine – Atrazine is an herbicide that is widely used to control broad leaf and grassy weeds.  It is used most extensively wherever corn, soybeans, and other crops are grown.  Since 1993, its uses have been greatly restricted.  Exposure to atrazine can cause many health effects, including congestion of the heart, lungs and kidneys, low blood pressure, muscle spasms, weight loss, and damage to the adrenal glands.  Longer-term exposure to atrazine can also cause retinal and some muscular degeneration and cancer.
  • Benzene – Benzene is a liquid that is highly flammable.  Its greatest uses have been as a building block for making plastics, resins, and synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester.  It is also used as a solvent in painting and dry cleaning.  The Environmental Protection Agency believes that any amount of benzene is potentially dangerous and can cause health effects, including nervous system disorders, immune system, depression, and anemia.  Longer-term exposures to benzene have the potential to cause chromosome aberrations and cancer.
  • Dibromochloropropane (DBCP) – DBCP has a pungent odor and is used for soil fumigation of various crops.  Short-term side effects can include kidney and liver damage, and long-term use can cause kidney damage, loss of fertility, and cancer.
  • Dioxin – Dioxin is a contaminant formed in the production of some chlorinated organic compounds, including some herbicides.  Its short-term exposure can cause liver damage, weight loss, and wasting of glands important to the body’s immune system.  Longer-term dioxin exposure has the potential to cause a variety of reproductive problems, including reduced fertility and birth defects, as well as cancer.
  • Ethylbenzene – Ethylbenzene is a liquid with a gasoline-like odor.  Almost all of it is used as a building block for making plastics, but it is also used as a solvent for coatings and in making rubber and plastic wrap.  Short-term effects can be drowsiness, fatigue, headache, and mild eye and respiratory irritation; long-term damage can occur to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system and the eyes.
  • Heavy Metals – Exposure to heavy metals such as mercury, lead, copper, cadmium, arsenic, chromium, nickel, among others, has the potential to cause various skin irritations and damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system, and to cause cardio-respiratory problems.
  • Perchlorate and Tetrachloroethylene – These products are used primarily in the textile industry and are a component of dry cleaning products.  People who drink water contaminated by these chemicals may have problems with their liver and increased risk of cancer.
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB’s) – PCB’s can often be released into the environment from landfills via waste materials, incineration of refuse, and the disposal of transformers.  PCB’s were formerly used in the United States in hydraulic fluid, plasticizers, adhesives, fire retardants, pesticide extenders, inks, lubricants, heating system transfers, and carbonless reproducing paper.  Acute exposure to PCB’s can cause acne-like eruptions, pigmentation of the skin, and hearing and vision problems.  Longer-term use of PCB’s has the potential to cause throat and gastrointestinal tract problems, changes in liver function, and cancer.
  • Toluene – Toluene is used as a solvent for paints, lacquers, and resins; it is used in cements and solvents, spot removers, cosmetics, and antifreeze, as well as a variety of other products.  Exposure to it can cause fatigue, nausea, weakness, and confusion, with longer, chronic use causing spasms, tremors, imbalance, impairment of speech, and hearing, vision, and memory loss, as well as liver and kidney damage.
  • Trichloroethane (TCE) – TCE is used to make vinyl chloride which, in turn, is used to make synthetic fibers and plastic wraps, such as Saran wrap.  Exposure to TCE can cause irritation of the intestinal tract, lung problems, and damage to the liver and kidneys, as well as cancer.
  • Vinyl Chloride – Vinyl Chloride is used in the manufacture of numerous building and construction products, as well as in the automotive industry, in the manufacturing of electrical insulation and cables, piping, medical supplies, and is used heavily by the rubber, paper, and glass industries.  Exposure can cause damage to the nervous system and has the potential to cause cancer.
  • Xylene – Xylene is a solvent which is used in gasoline and also is used to make plasticizers, polyester fiber, film, and fabricated items.  Exposure to it short term can cause disturbances to cognitive abilities, balance and coordination, with longer term potential for damage to the central nervous system, liver, and kidneys.

Speak with the Environmental Attorneys of Rodman, Rodman & Sandman

If you are concerned that your drinking water has been contaminated as a result of one or more of these substances, or if you are concerned about exposure to one of these dangerous chemicals, please contact our Boston-area firm to discuss the issues with one of our environmental attorneys, serving Malden, Somerville, and all surrounding areas.