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Pittsburgh Legal Issues Blog

Are we heading toward an autonomous car revolution?

For about 100 years, motor vehicle driving has been the norm. The ex-vice chairman and chief product developer at General Motors, Bob Lutz, recently wrote an opinion piece called, "Kiss the Good Times Goodbye." In the op-ed, he said that human driving is coming to an end. Self-driving cars will soon become the norm.

Experts seem to disagree as to when the self-driving revolution will have completely decimated the human-driven vehicle revolution. Some say that it will happen within 20 years and others say it will take 50 to 70 years before human drivers are completely obsolete.

Asbestos: What is pleural thickening?

Due to modern laws that exist to protect workers from asbestos exposure, in addition to laws that prohibit the use of asbestos in certain industrial applications, one might be tempted to think that modern workers are not likely to contract a disease related to this substance. However, it's estimated that asbestos-related diseases still kill thousands of workers in the United States every year.

While it's true that not everyone who makes contact with asbestos is going to contract a serious illness, regular and continual exposure to asbestos has been proven to lead to a host of serious and fatal illnesses. One of those illnesses is known as "pleural thickening" and like most asbestos-caused diseases, pleural thickening relates to the lungs.

3 recent consumer product safety recalls

Consumers need to be on alert for dangerous products at all times. For this reason, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Council (CPSC) does everything it can to identify dangerous product recalls and let consumers know about them. This way, they can be avoided, and those who possess these products know what remedies are available.

Here are the three most recent dangerous products highlighted by the CPSC in this regard:

  • Kidde brand fire extinguishers equipped with plastic handles: These potentially dangerous fire extinguishers have been shown to get clogged to the point that they cannot be used without the application of excessive force. Furthermore, the fire extinguisher nozzles on these devices can detach and result in an impact danger. One death has been reported relating to these faulty devices. A recall has been instituted and consumers can receive a replacement fire extinguisher in many cases.
  • Little Mass children's sleepwear: A pajama set intended for small children has been shown to fail flammability standards. As such, the pajamas pose the risk of catching flame. A recall has been instituted and consumers can receive a refund if they are in possession of certain Little Mass pajama sets.
  • Polaris recreational vehicles: The steering wheel shaft on certain Polaris recreational off-road vehicles can detach and cause an accident due to losing control of the vehicle. A recall has been instituted and consumers can take their Polaris vehicles in for a free repair.

Is there a safe level of asbestos exposure?

The most straightforward answer to this question is that there is no safe level of asbestos exposure. However, according to most experts, "brief exposure" to asbestos just a few times will probably not cause long-term problems.

In most cases of asbestos-related diseases, workers have suffered from years of constant exposure to high amounts of asbestos. Employees who have experienced these kinds of conditions will have a high chance of developing mesothelioma, cancer, asbestosis or other problems in their lungs.

How do I know if I have asbestosis?

Numerous Pennsylvania workers have exposed themselves to asbestos-containing materials unknowingly. Most of these workers will never develop asbestosis or other asbestos-related diseases, but some of them will. In fact, doctors and medical experts claim that there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos and even a small amount can lead to serious health consequences.

If you know you've been exposed to asbestos -- especially if the exposure lasted for consecutive months or years -- you should keep your eye out for the following asbestosis symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath.
  • Dry, persistent coughing.
  • Weight loss and appetite loss.
  • Toes and fingertips that are rounder and wider than usual. This is called "clubbing" in medical circles.
  • Chest pain or chest tightness.
  • Alveoli and bronchioles in your lungs. A physician can identify these through appropriate examination.

Modern products that contain asbestos

Anyone can encounter asbestos dust and contract severe, life-threatening injuries and illnesses as a result of this contact. As such, you might want to familiarize yourself with the modern products that still incorporate asbestos. This way, you can stay safe when around these products and avoid the potential for contamination.

Below are some asbestos-containing products still in use today:

Was your child injured during birth? You may have a case

Expecting baby is an exciting time for a Pennsylvania family, but this excitement can be marred if there are complications during birth. If your child suffered birth injuries, it could be the result of a preventable error or mistake committed by the doctor, nurse or other medical professional. Birth injuries can be quite serious, some having a permanent impact on the life of the child.

If your child experienced an injury during birth, you would be wise to fully explore your legal options. It is possible that your family could be eligible for financial compensation for your losses as well as future care needed for your baby. This is understandably a complex and difficult time, but you do not have to navigate it alone.

Crib tents: Why they're dangerous for babies

Crib tents are supposed to keep your baby safe by preventing him or her from climbing out of the crib. However, they've proved to be far more dangerous than helpful.

Crib tents should be avoided, primarily because they're made from mesh that easily tears. Holes form in the material when your toddler pokes exploring fingers into it. Your baby's head and arms can then get tangled or trapped in the material leading to serious — even fatal — choking and other hazards. Considering these dangers, crib tents just aren't worth the risk, especially because there are equally useful alternatives.

Workers most at risk of developing asbestos-related illnesses

According to medical doctors and asbestos experts, there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos. Even small quantities of this dangerous substance can result in dangerous and fatal cancers. As such, all Pennsylvania workers at risk of making contact with asbestos need to take the necessary safety precautions.

Some workers need to be more careful than others to avoid asbestos-related illnesses. These workers, who are especially at risk, include:

  • Construction workers: Construction workers involved in the demolition of buildings and the renovation of homes are particularly at risk of making contact with asbestos. Also, workers who use flooring and roofing materials may be at risk of asbestos exposure.
  • Firefighters: When a firefighter enters a burning building, he or she could be making contact with asbestos fibers, which can become airborne during a fire. Protective fire clothing, boots and helmets also contain asbestos.
  • Industrial workers: Foremen, mechanics, chemical workers, machine operators and trade laborers could make contact with asbestos paper, gaskets and textiles that contain asbestos. Those who work as industrial insulators have the highest risk of asbestos exposure.
  • Power plant workers: Thirty-three percent of power-plant workers showed in tests that they had asbestos contamination in their systems. Many power plant workers get exposed to asbestos when they're cutting pipes.

The dangers of metal-on-metal hip implants

Do you have a metal-on-metal hip implant? This is a hip replacement device that utilizes a metal ball joint that fits into a metal socket. These devices were designed to last many years. The problem is that the metal scraping on metal can release metal particles into your body, and this can result in serious health consequences.

Some of the worst medical consequences of metal-on-metal hip plants are:

  • Loosening of the device
  • Bone loss
  • Bone fracture
  • Device fracture
  • Infection

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D'Amico Law Offices, L.L.C.
310 Grant Street
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Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-906-8180
Phone: 412-906-8180
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