An increase in the use of pesticides in Hawai‘i has coincided with an increase in the rates of birth defects and cancers. Research has linked many of these birth defects and cancers to the pesticides and herbicides being used in large amounts on commercial plantations. If you worked on a farm or lived close to the fields where pesticides were sprayed and your child was born with a birth defect such as a serious heart condition, abnormal limbs, spina bifida, or gastroschisis or you developed certain types of cancer, then you may be entitled to significant compensation.
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How Did Pesticides Cause My Child’s Birth Defects?
Pesticides can cause birth defects in children whose parents were exposed through airborne pesticide drift, groundwater contamination or farm work. The toxins in pesticides such as chlorpyrifos can be inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the mother’s or father’s skin and may then damage the parents’ chromosomes. If a child is conceived before or soon after a mother’s or father’s pesticide exposure, the unborn child may inherit abnormal DNA and suffer from a serious heart condition or other birth defects once born.
What Illnesses Can Pesticides Cause?
Many chemicals in pesticides have been linked to cancer and other serious illnesses. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s RoundUp has been shown to cause Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Dicamba and 2,4-D have also been linked to different types of cancers in humans. They can be inhaled by people who live, work or go to school near agricultural areas. Even children and family members can be exposed to pesticides through the clothes of loved ones who work with them.
How Was I Exposed to Pesticides in Hawai‘i?
Farm workers and people who live near plantations can be exposed to birth-defect causing pesticides. When pesticides are sprayed over crops, the chemicals can become airborne and carried downwind into nearby neighborhoods. Contaminated dirt can also be blown into the communities that border the agricultural fields, again contaminating homes and further exposing the families that live there. Because the GMO crops growing throughout Hawai‘i, especially on Kauai and Maui, are designed to withstand large amounts of pesticides, they are heavily sprayed. Hawai‘i’s long growing season also allows for more crops to be grown year round than anywhere else on the mainland. The two factors combined result in more pesticides used more often, which increases the likelihood of pesticide exposure and risk of birth defects.
Birth Defects Linked to Pesticides
Local doctors report seeing more than 10 times the national rate of birth defects, like heart malformations, in the state of Hawai‘i and say that more study is needed. However, many of the pesticides being heavily used on Kauai, Maui, and throughout the neighbor islands have been linked to a number of birth defects including:
- Serious cardiac conditions or heart defects
- Limb abnormalities and missing limbs
- Spina bifida (birth defect of the spine and spinal cord)
- Gastroschisis (birth defect of the abdominal)
Illnesses Linked to Pesticides
On Kauai, Maui and other islands, pesticide and herbicide use has increased to keep up with newer types of crops designed to withstand these chemicals. This means many people have been exposed to these illness-causing chemicals. Some of the illnesses linked to pesticides include:
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Liver Cancer
- Bile Duct Cancer
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Parkinson’s Disease
Pesticide Exposure from Other Areas
Hawai‘i Department of Health studies have found numerous harmful pesticides in the areas where plantations used to operate and pesticide mixing areas. Growers have used a wide range of pesticides with varying toxicities and volatility over time. Some of these pesticides, such as persistent organic pollutants (POPs), can remain in the soil and water continuing to pose a threat for years. When the contaminated dirt is not managed properly it can be blown downwind or the residual pesticides may leach into the drinking water exposing the community to the toxins. Many of the pesticides used at former agricultural facilities and sites have been linked to birth defects and other reproductive disorders and illnesses.
Filing a Pesticide Lawsuit
Our lawyers are experts in successfully representing birth defects victims. We provide free initial consultations and will meet with you to evaluate your claim with no obligation on your part. If your child has pesticide-related birth defects, he or she may have a claim against the company responsible for that pesticide exposure. Please get in touch with us for a free case evaluation at 1-866-998-6942 and learn more about your legal options. Our team will begin working immediately and aggressively to obtain the best result for your case.
While we are not doctors, our lawyers work with highly-qualified scientific and medical professionals to determine if a reported birth defect is related to a parent’s exposure to pesticides.
The Galiher law firm works tirelessly to obtain the best results for its clients in every case. Through our many years of practice, however, we understand that every case is unique and any recovery is based on the particular facts of the case at hand. Prior results cannot guarantee the results in future cases.
L. Richard DeRobertis
Partner & Lead Appellate Lawyer
L. Richard DeRobertis joined the firm in 1983 and serves as the lead appellate lawyer in the firm. Rick has helped to preserve and expand the legal rights of Hawai’i workers, mesothelioma victims and consumers, and represents them in court appeals against manufacturers and large corporations.Meet Rick
Born and raised in Hawai'i, Ilana Waxman joined the Galiher team in 2007 and focuses her practice on clients with mesothelioma and other asbestos diseases. She also represents the families of children born with birth defects due to chemical exposures, Hawai'i residents suffering from Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma as a result of Roundup exposure, survivors of childhood sexual abuse, and other catastrophic injury cases.Meet Ilana
Born and raised in Hawaii, Allison Aoki attended Georgetown University in Washington D.C. and Keio University in Tokyo before returning to attend the University of Hawaii for law school. Her practice focuses on representing victims of asbestos disease, pesticide exposure, and other catastrophic injuries. She approaches every case with sensitivity and determination as she works to help local families seek justice.Meet Allison
Alyssa R. Segawa
A native of Honolulu, Hawaii, Alyssa Segawa’s practice concentrates on asbestos litigation, personal injury, product liability, Roundup litigation, appellate and federal practice matters. She has a particular interest in helping victims of mesothelioma seek justice through the legal system as her grandfather passed away from mesothelioma when she was 16.Meet Alyssa
Peter A. Kraus
Partner Peter Kraus focuses on toxic torts, whistleblower qui tam cases and pharmaceutical litigation. He has tried numerous asbestos, benzene exposure, and pharmaceutical cases including many multimillion-dollar verdicts and is an ardent supporter of consumer and victims’ rights.Meet Peter
Christopher L. Johnson
Chris Johnson represents plaintiffs involved in toxic tort and complex civil matters. He focuses on helping victims achieve justice after suffering catastrophic injuries from dangerous products and toxic substances. This includes people dealing with mesothelioma resulting from asbestos exposure.Meet Christopher
About Our Founder
Gary O. Galiher
Gary Galiher, the late founder of Galiher DeRobertis & Waxman, began practicing law in 1977 and started his own law firm the following year when he took on the first mesothelioma case in Hawai’i. We are proud to carry on his legacy, his personal commitment and his willingness to take on big organizations and companies on behalf of our clients.
Our Core Values
We take your case personally and put your needs first. That means you will receive individual attention from our attorneys who work as a team. We leverage our vast experience and resources to ensure you get the best possible results, even if that means going to court. No kou pono drives our resolve — everything we do is on your behalf. And at the end of the day, nothing is more important to us than honesty and integrity.
We fearlessly take on large companies on behalf of locals and win. With over $1 billion in recoveries our track record speaks for itself. For decades, we’ve negotiated substantial settlements, obtained successful verdicts at trial and have been successful at appeal.
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We Can Help
We provide free initial consultations. If you believe you or a loved one has a claim or a potential lawsuit, we are willing to meet with you to evaluate your claim with no obligation on your part. To learn more about your legal rights and options, please contact us to receive a free initial consultation.