Compensating Victims of Toxic Substances

Archive Report

Compensation Systems

Liability for Hazards to Public Health

Hardly a week passes without news of some new risk associated with drugs, chemicals, food or radiation. And increasingly, those who claim to be victims of harmful substances or radiation are going to court to seek compensation. During the last few years some of the biggest group-claims ever filed against businesses and government have been brought in connection with Agent Orange, a defoliant used in Vietnam; DES, a drug widely prescribed in the 1950s and 1960s to reduce the risks of miscarriage; atomic radiation; and asbestos, a substance widely used until the 1970s as a fireproofing agent and as a moisture and sound barrier in buildings. There has been a tendency to view these suits as isolated and ...

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