Waterproofing sprays are designed to seal and protect everything from footwear and clothing to bathtub and shower grout. In many cases, cans of waterproofing spray claim that they “safely and effectively” create a water-resistant seal to protect items. In some cases, the packaging includes claims that the contents or ingredients used to create the product are “earth friendly.” However, these claims are not completely accurate. Research has shown that chemicals contained in waterproofing sprays can cause serious injuries and life-threatening respiratory conditions.
In this article, our California product liability attorney discusses several topics related to the dangers of waterproofing sprays including:
- What are fluoropolymers?
- Does research indicate that waterproofing sprays are dangerous?
- What should I do if I have been injured or developed a respiratory illness after using waterproofing sprays?
What are Fluoropolymers?
Without going into too many technical terms, fluoropolymers are plastic resins first discovered accidentally by a scientist at DuPont in 1938. These chemicals are very strong, durable, and lightweight. They are used in many applications, including waterproofing sprays, because they can resist water, salt, heat, and chemicals.
Are Waterproofing Sprays Toxic?
If you read the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for waterproofing spray products, you will find that they advise that the chemicals in the products, including fluoropolymers, can cause respiratory conditions or injuries if a person inhales the product. The MSDS advise that people using the product wear respirators to reduce the risk of injuries. Many manufacturers of fluoropolymers require employees to wear protective gear because of the dangers associated with inhaling the chemicals during the manufacturing process. The MSDS for waterproofing sprays also include information regarding the accidental inhalation of the product.
Certain data sheets caution against pressurizing or placing the product into aerosol form. By aerosolizing the product, it causes the fluoropolymers to become airborne so that they can be inhaled. However, many companies choose to ignore the warnings. They aerosolize fluoropolymers to create waterproofing sprays that they market as safe to use.
Even though companies know the risks of fluoropolymers, they fail to state on the waterproofing spray can that there is a risk of developing serious injuries if the product is inhaled. They fail to provide warnings of the risks of using the products.
The Lawyers of The Thompson Law Office Believe Consumers Should Be Protected
Product liability laws protect consumers when products are placed on the market that are dangerous, hazardous, or defective. If a product causes an injury to someone, the party or parties responsible for the product can be held liable for injuries, damages, and losses.
However, proving that a product was defective or hazardous can be extremely complicated. In some cases, you must prove that the company failed to provide adequate warnings of risks associated with using a product. To prove that a company failed to provide adequate warnings, you must prove that the company knew about the risks and dangers but chose not to warn consumers.
In the case of waterproofing sprays, there are studies and scientific research that show waterproofing sprays containing fluoropolymers pose a serious health risk. Yet, the companies failed to warn consumers of this risk.
If you believe your respiratory illness or injury was caused by using or being exposed to waterproofing sprays, you might be entitled to substantial compensation for your injuries and damages.
Please contact our office to schedule a free consultation with a California waterproofing spray injury attorney. Contact our office by calling 1-650-513-6111 for additional information or to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with a product liability attorney in California.
Does Research indicate Waterproofing Sprays are Dangerous to Use?
Research and study into the use of fluoropolymers in waterproofing sprays indicate that because the sprays contain fluoropolymer resin, they can pose significant respiratory risks. The risk is not limited to a specific brand or manufacturer. The fact that the product contains fluoropolymer resin is what creates the risk of injury.
The Michigan State University College of Human Medicine announced findings in 2008 that indicated contact with waterproofing sprays containing different types of fluoropolymer resin was causing respiratory injuries. The Michigan Department of Community Health issued an advisory that advised individuals to use extreme caution when handling all brands of waterproofing spray.
Numerous Officials Are Concerned About the Problem
Since 1990, public health representatives, medical providers, government agencies, and scientific journals worldwide have expressed concern about the risk of respiratory problems associated with waterproofing sprays. Reports have detailed numerous respiratory issues associated with using waterproofing spray, including a persistent cough, chemical pneumonitis, long-term lung damage, and shortness of breath. Examples of some of the cautions and issues raised over the years include:
- A 2001 letter to the Journal of Toxicology detailed a case of pulmonary toxicity associated with contact with Tectron DWR, which is distributed and owned by Blue Magic Products, Inc. Tectron DWR is still available as a waterproofing agent.
- Several advisories were posted by the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) in 2006 warning of serious respiratory conditions linked to exposure to waterproofing sprays. Reports of illnesses were found in other states. Reports of chemical pneumonitis linked to aerosolized waterproofing agents were reported in Europe and Canada.
- The MDCH Director warned that consumers should consider avoiding waterproofing sprays until a health investigation could be completed. The advisory by the MDCH stated that an assessment of the respiratory risk could not be made based on the product’s label. The data available suggested that the more toxic products contained some type of fluoropolymer. Because the fluoropolymer by itself did not appear toxic, the manufacturer was not required to add a warning to the product’s label. However, it may be that interactions with other chemicals may cause the fluoropolymers to become toxic. Also, aerosolizing the fluoropolymers could result in toxicity. Therefore, the advisory concluded that all brands should be treated with utmost caution.
- The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene published a report in 2006 after it analyzed over one hundred cases of acute respiratory syndrome. The cases were associated with the inhaling of waterproofing sprays. The report did not find a threshold to define a safe level of exposure. Also, the report concluded that improvement of exposure conditions while using the spray would not be a sufficient step to prevent future outbreaks of waterproofing spray toxicity.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also began warning consumers and the public during 2006 of potential risks and dangers associated with using waterproofing sprays containing fluoropolymers.
- In a 2007 New York Times article, the writer stated that public health representatives from numerous states accused the Consumer Product Safety Commission of allowing the public to be at risk because it failed to investigate the association of lung injuries and waterproofing sprays. According to one source, thousands of consumers may have suffered respiratory problems after using waterproofing sprays.
Holding Companies Accountable for Their Negligence and Willful Wrongdoing
Manufacturers and distributors of waterproofing sprays have known about the risks associated with their products for many years. They have ignored scientific evidence and research showing an association between respiratory problems and the use of aerosolized waterproofing sprays containing fluoropolymers. The fact that they have chosen to ignore the readily available information about the risks of using aerosolized waterproofing products containing fluoropolymers is inexcusable. Their negligence and willful wrongdoing have placed thousands of consumers at risk of developing serious respiratory illnesses and conditions.
Some manufacturers of fluoropolymer waterproofing products voluntarily recalled products and ceased distribution of the product once an outbreak of injuries was reported. Two of the voluntary recalls occurred in Pennsylvania and Oregon. Approximately 400 injury cases were reported.
Companies that continued to ignore the warnings of risks associated with fluoropolymers waterproofing sprays did so with a reckless disregard for life and safety. They placed consumers in danger when they failed to place warnings on waterproofing spray labels. These companies knew about the dangers their products posed to the public and decided to continue marketing the products without warnings to continue making a profit regardless of the jeopardy and risk to the public.
What Should You Do If You Have Been Injured or Developed a Respiratory Injury After Using Waterproofing Sprays?
Seek medical attention immediately. Notify your physician that you have used or been exposed to an aerosolized waterproofing product containing fluoropolymers. Do not throw away the product. Keep the product and all packaging in a safe place where it cannot be tampered with or used. If possible, locate proof of purchase of the waterproofing spray, including your store receipt and proof of payment.
Write down as much as you can remember about using the product, including dates and times. Also, note when you first began experiencing symptoms of a respiratory illness. As you receive treatment, document your expenses and losses associated with the illness and injury. Keep notes about discussions with your physician regarding your illness and how your illness impacts your daily life.
As soon as possible, contact a California product liability lawyer to discuss your case. An attorney can evaluate the facts and circumstances in your case to determine if you might have a product liability claim against one or more parties. If you have a valid claim, you might be entitled to recover compensation for your damages including:
The cost of medical care associated with the illness or injury caused by the product;
- Your loss of income, including any diminished earning capacity caused by a permanent impairment or disability;
- Pain and suffering from physical injuries;
- Mental anguish and emotional distress;
- Permanent disabilities and impairments caused by exposure to the product; and,
- Other out-of-pocket financial losses associated with your claim.
Proving that a company is liable for damages caused by a defective or dangerous product is a complex and serious undertaking. The task of proving that the company knew about the risks and dangers yet failed to act to protect consumers can be difficult. In many cases, expert witnesses are required to provide testimony related to the dangers of using the product.
Medical experts are also needed to explain how exposure to the product caused the illness or injury. A direct link needs to be established between exposure to the product and the resulting injury. Our experienced product liability lawyers in California have extensive experience handling product liability claims and have a thorough understanding of the laws and what is required to prove a claim.
Contact a California Waterproofing Spray Lawsuit Attorney for More Information
The legal team of the Thompson Law Office wants to help you fight for what is fair and just after being injured by a defective or dangerous product. We believe that companies should be held liable when they knowingly or recklessly place a dangerous product on the market. They need to be held accountable when they place company profits of a person’s health or life.
We aggressively fight large corporations and companies to help our clients seek justice. We also want to help prevent other individuals from suffering the same type of tragedy by shedding light on dangerous and hazardous products. A product liability lawsuit can help you recover compensation from your injuries, but it can also help other individuals avoid being injured by a dangerous product by removing the product from the market or making it known that there is a risk associated with using the product. Your product liability lawsuit could help others avoid injury from waterproofing sprays.
Please contact our office for a free consultation with a California product liability attorney by calling 1-650-513-6111.
We accept most personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. Your initial consultation is free of charge, and you will not pay any attorney fees until we recover money for your claim. You can get the help you need, regardless of your current financial situation.