Wilsonville, OR asked in Environmental for California

Q: Can I sue a company for mishandled regulated chemicals

My roommate works in pest control in California with regulated chemicals but does his work clothes laundry here in the shared apartment units when I know other companies pay to have their uniforms done by a professional cleaning service is it illegal for his company to not provide laundry service and as such responsible for exposing me and others to these chemicals?

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1 Lawyer Answer

A: If you did not suffer a severe injury as a result of exposure to the chemicals on your roommate’s work clothes, taking legal action against the employer will most likely be a fruitless endeavor. Whether the practice of having workers clean their own uniforms is legal highly depends on what pesticides they handle during the job and how harmful these chemicals are to human health. Accordingly, laundering contaminated work clothes might be relatively safe as long as certain precautions are taken.

That being said, your concerns are perfectly reasonable, since exposure to certain pesticides has been associated with serious diseases such as leukemia, melanoma, and lung cancer. I advise you to find out the exact pesticides your roommate uses and subsequently contact the National Pesticide Information Center to inquire with regard to the potential health hazard they pose. They can also provide your roommate with information on how to safely launder contaminated clothing so as to minimize exposure. If it turns out his employer is dealing with uniform cleaning in an inadequate way, you should report this problem to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

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