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Volkswagen to give out $1,000 for customers involved in emission rigging scandal

With hopes of winning back their clientele’s trust, Volkswagen is giving away cash cards worth $1,000 to those affected by what was dubbed by some to be one of the scruffiest scandals in the automotive industry.

According to a report by the Independent, the German automaker is planning to dole out a pre-loaded Visa card with $500, and another cash card worth $500 to be spent on any Volkswagen dealership. The move, which hopes to regain trust and goodwill to its customers and the public, is estimated to cost the company $500 million.

However, some found Volkswagen’s move unappealing. According to Senators Edward Markey and Richard Blumenthal, the compensation offered by the automaker giant is “insultingly inadequate.” The senators also challenged the company to buy back the affected cars, and to announce that every owner involved in the emission-rigging scandal should have the right to sue.

In September, the U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) revealed that some Volkswagen units are equipped with a device designed to rig emission tests. The software, which was installed in more than 400,000 diesel-powered, four-cylinder cars, works by switching the engine into a sort of test mode when it sense that the car is being tested for emission. But when on the road, this test mode switches off, resulting to an emission that is up to 40 times higher than what clean air regulation allows.

Pollutants Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Produced

In 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued new regulations to lower emissions from diesel vehicles. This stringent plan to lower emissions was specifically targeting nitrogen oxides, which are harmful greenhouse gasses and contribute to smog among other chemical-induced air pollution. Due to the significant amount of health problems that nitrogen oxides can cause, the EPA has readily constricted the levels of nitrogen oxide pollution allowable.

In a statement, the EPA highlighted the negative health effects of nitrogen oxides: “Exposure to these pollutants has been linked with a range of serious health effects, including increased asthma attacks and other respiratory illnesses that can be serious enough to send people to the hospital.” The chemical composition contributed to ground-level ozone and particular matter, both of which have been cited to cause premature death from respiratory and cardiovascular conditions.

The U.S. has a long history of problems with diesel vehicles contributing unwanted and rampant pollution throughout its border. The new discovery of Volkswagen selling diesel vehicles that emit 10 to 40 times as many chemicals as the EPA allows is just one of many environmentally hazardous events the U.S. car industry has caused, according to The Driscoll Firm website. With the inception of passenger vehicles, the threat of unregulated, larger diesel vehicles spreading more hazardous emissions was a significant threat to the air quality of major cities. Fortunately, the popularity of diesel fuel was minimal and the incorporation of stricter emissions laws caused diesel vehicles to lose appeal for car manufacturers and purchasers alike.

Many countries have discussed or already instituted bans on diesel vehicles due to the decrease in air quality the cars cause. The French government discussed slowly phasing out diesel vehicles while promoting electric cars since the current ratio of diesel vehicles to non-diesel is 3 to 1. Legislation that effectively limits the use of diesel may be in short order after the fraudulent activities of Volkswagen.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of PCB Exposure?

The United States federal government imposed a ban on polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs in 1979. This nationwide ban came as a solution for the contamination and pollution caused by Monsanto, who was solely responsible for producing PCBs in the U.S. from the 1930s until the late 1970s.While PCBs had numerous utilitarian benefits, it soon came to light that PCBs are harmful to both human health and the environment. In fact, toxic Monsanto PCBs have been classified as probable human carcinogens and were found to have devastating ecological effects. According to scientific research conducted in the years since its ban, prolonged PCB exposure can be extremely harmful and dangerous.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, cancer isn’t the only health risk associated with PCB exposure. PCBs have also been found to cause issues and complications in the immune, reproductive, nervous, and endocrine systems, as well as liver damage and high blood pressure. These outcomes usually result from chronic or continuous exposure over a significant period of time. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, symptoms of chronic PCB exposure are not overt and will usually develop over time. Some signs at risk individuals can watch out for include abdominal pain, jaundice, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and uroporphyria.

On the other hand, signs and symptoms of acute or single, high-level exposure are a lot more evident. The most telling sign of acute PCB exposure is the development of an acne-like skin condition called chloracne. This condition shares several characteristics with normal adolescent acne, but it usually features more distinctive cystic skin lesions that may appear in the arms, back, face, legs, neck, and truck at any age. The Mount Sinai School of Medicine also points out that acute exposure might also lead to vomiting and respiratory issues. On the other hand, chronic PCB exposure can also be evident through the darkening of skin and nails over time.

Product Liability for Defective Drugs and Medical Devices

The saying that the cure is worse than the disease or similar has been used for centuries. This is mostly because before the era of modern medical principles, many cures and therapies killed off or at least grievously injured the patients.

Back in the day, people with ailments or certain needs would go to the apothecary to be dosed with evil-smelling concoctions or fitted with mysterious gadgets. It was pretty much trial-and-error, and the treatments that killed off more than they cured were eventually removed from the lists. A good example is arsenic, which in low doses was used as a stimulant in the 18th century. However, arsenic has a cumulative effect, and will eventually kill the user. In toxic doses, of course, arsenic will kill within a short period of ingestion.

Today, any drug company that uses arsenic is liable to get sued because of its known toxic effects. The standards of care are much higher now because there is no reason why a drug company will not know the long-term effects of any drug or medical device they sell to the public. The product liability for defective drugs or medical devices that is widely introduced into the market can ring up a pretty hefty bill in personal injury lawsuits.

That is precisely what happened to the manufacturers and distributors of the birth-control device NuvaRing and the kidney cleansing solution Granuflo used in dialysis. They are being sued by thousands of their clients for not giving adequate warning about the potential harmful side-effects with their use.

NuvaRing users claim that use of the once-a-month contraceptive significantly increased formation of blood clots. An article in the website of Texas law firm Williams Kherkher about NuvaRing observes that Merck & Co. should be made to pay for their negligence in protecting the health of their clients. Those suing Granuflo manufacturer Fresenius Medical Care for failure to warn. In a separate article on Granuflo, lawyers at Williams Kherkher explain that the company failed to advise physicians that subscribing excessive bicarbonate to their patients can lead to cardiac arrest and other heart problem.

If you or someone close to you has found that the cure is worse than the disease, you should know that you don’t have to pay the consequences of a defective drug or medical devices by yourself. Stand up and take action by consulting with a product liability lawyer specializing in the product or device that has caused you injury.