Does Standing Up to Corporations Make a Difference?
A majority of Americans believe that the products we use, the medications we take, and the air and water we rely on to live are protected by regulatory agencies whose job it is to keep us all safe. The sad truth of the matter is that many of these agencies lack power, funding, or staffing to regulate all of the potential dangers we come into contact with in our everyday lives.
Even more sad, all too often, those regulatory agencies often put corporate interests first, protecting profits before they protect people like you and me.
We frequently talk about standing together to make a difference by using our judicial system to hold corporations accountable. This isn’t lip service. Unless people like us stand up to chemical companies, drug manufacturers, and other makers and sellers of products we rely upon, no one is holding them accountable.
When we do stand together, justice may be slow, but we create change, and we create a safer world for ourselves and for generations to come. From changing the way window blinds are made to getting deadly talc and killer glyphosate removed from store shelves, we’ve stood by our clients and saved lives.
Movie fans will remember the epic story about the determined Erin Brockovich who stepped up to the plate to take on Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG & E). The environmental issue at stake was the ground water in Hinkley, California. PFAS, commonly called forever chemicals, were in the water, making people sick. Brockovich was concerned about their potential wide-spread health impact.
Brockovich and the law firm where she worked helped to secure $333-million for about 600 plaintiffs who alleged injury from drinking the contaminated water. That lawsuit changed PG&E’s practices and forced other utility providers to evaluate their practices lest they face a similar fate.
What Brockovich had was passion. When someone feels strongly enough about something and then backs up their passion with facts and law, it goes a long way in bringing forth change.
Society has many such Brockoviches, who share her determination to protect the environment.
There are new examples every day of brave people making a difference. Recently, a group of similarly impassioned activists helped to achieve a monumental decision that will impact countless lives. These activists’ point of concern has been a pollutant called PM 2.5.
PM 2.5 particles are microscopic—a thirtieth of the width of a single human hair—and they’re inhalable. They enter the body system to create a range of potentially deadly health concerns. Among these problems are respiratory conditions and lung and heart ailments.
Just as Brockovich won a huge victory for plaintiffs affected by contaminated water, these environmental activists have also been successful. Following years of appeals from activists, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has now approved new standards for the harmful PM 2.5.
While many activists believe that PM regulations need to be tightened further, this is a huge victory. The EPA will lower the “safe” standard for PM 2.5 from 12 mcg per cubic meter to between 9 and 10 mcg per cubic meter.
The victory is further amplified when considering the might of the opposition. Powerful corporate lobbyists and political players with billions of dollars on the line managed to ease the EPA’s environmental protections between 2016 and 2018. This latest win shows that we, the people have the power to take back what is ours and stand up for our own personal protections.
Goliath looks small when we all stand together as David. When we stand together to protect ourselves, our families, and our neighbors, we really can make a difference.
If you or your family member has suffered financial or physical harm due to dangerous products, defective drugs, environmental pollution, or any other serious situation, Contact OnderLaw.