Diesel Injury Law

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Can Exposures to Diesel Exhaust, Pesticides and Herbicides Cause ALS?

ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is an incurable neurodegenerative disease that affects the brain and spinal cord.  ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, initially causes weakness in the arms and legs.  As it progresses, ALS affects one’s ability to speak, use your hands, swallow and breathe.  We now know that ALS may be related to long-term exposures to diesel exhaust, pesticides and herbicides.

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    There are two types of ALS, sporadic and familial.  Sporadic is by far the more common of the two, with 90-95% of the cases; only 5-10% of cases are thought to be inherited from a person’s parents.

    Environmental factors such as smoking cigarettes have long been suspected as a potential cause of sporadic ALS.  In the Fall of 2018, Harvard Researchers published findings based on data from 1,639 people who had been diagnosed with ALS.  That study found that men with high diesel exhaust exposures for more than 10 years were 45% more likely to be diagnosed with ALS than those of comparable ages with no diesel exposures over that same period.

    The author of the report, Angie Dickerson, Ph.D., said:

    “The overall risk of developing ALS is low, but our findings suggest that the greater the exposure to diesel exhaust, the greater the risk of developing ALS.”

    It should be noted that exposures to pesticides have previously been implicated as increasing the risk for ALS and Primary Lateral Sclerosis (PLS).  Direct exposures to pesticides are associated with a fivefold increased relative risk for ALS when compared to individuals with no pesticide exposures.  Interestingly, military service has been associated with double the risk of ALS. This is why veterans diagnosed with ALS are entitled to “service connected” benefits from the Veterans Administration.

    If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ALS after long term diesel, herbicide or pesticide exposures, contact Hughes Law Offices today.  Let us seek justice on your behalf.

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