When You Need a Lawyer who Will Fight for You

Toxic Chemical Exposure Lawyers

Scientist analyzing water In your home and neighborhood, you should not have to fear toxic chemicals making you sick. Exposure to substances like PFAS, ethylene oxide, benzene, vinyl chloride, TCE or PCE can leave you with devastating long-term health effects like cancer, respiratory ailments, and birth defects, which is why you need to be protected from these dangers.

At The Collins Law Firm, we are relentless in our pursuit of polluters who endanger your health with toxic chemical contamination. We won’t stop fighting until you get clean air, clean water, toxin free homes, and compensation for your injuries. Contact us to arrange a free initial consultation with an experienced toxic chemical exposure attorney who cares about your health and your home.

Over the last 25 years, we have built a reputation throughout the Chicago area and the country for our ability to protect the rights and secure needed compensation for our toxic exposure clients. When you need a champion to go to battle for you, we are ready and willing to fight.

Our Lawyers Understand the Science Behind Toxic Chemical Contamination

A large portion of our practice focuses on representing individuals and families who are the victims of environmental contamination due to corporations' negligent and reckless actions. This practice has grown nationwide, and we have helped thousands of families get the safe homes, drinking water and neighborhoods they deserve.

This environmental law work has given us a strong understanding of the science behind toxic chemical exposure. Moreover, we know the strategies big corporate polluters use to try to escape responsibility for their actions and twist the science, and we refuse to let them get away with it. We use the law and science to fight these Goliaths and hold them accountable. As a victim and as our client, you can be sure that you are being represented by toxic chemical exposure attorneys who know what you are going through and are dedicated to getting you the protection and compensation you deserve.

We know how to conduct a thorough investigation, prepare witnesses and experts, and build a solid case for trial so you can focus on your family’s health and safety.

What Toxic Chemicals Should I Be Concerned About?

Pollution Below is a list of some of the most common chemical contaminants in the United States. These toxic chemicals can be a threat to your health and should be taken seriously. If you have gotten a notice about any of these contaminants in your neighborhood air or water supply, you should contact our toxic chemical exposure attorneys for advice on what to do next to protect your family.

PFAS (per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances)

PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals used in various industries and in consumer products like firefighting foam, non-stick cookware, and water-repellent fabrics. PFAS contamination is commonly found in water sources near industrial sites, military bases, and areas where firefighting foam has been used. People can be exposed to PFAS through contaminated drinking water, food, and consumer products. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has evaluated the carcinogenicity of two types of PFAS and has classified PFOA as “carcinogenic to humans” and PFOS as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,”. Exposure to these toxic chemicals has been associated with kidney and testicular cancer. Numerous lawsuits are pending against manufacturers like 3M and DuPont, alleging they knew about the risks of PFAS contamination but failed to warn the public.

TCE (Trichloroethylene)

TCE is a volatile organic compound (VOC) used primarily as an industrial solvent for cleaning metal parts. It can be found in soil and groundwater near industrial sites where TCE was used or disposed of improperly. People can be exposed through vapor inhalation, contaminated drinking water, or occupational contact with TCE. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the EPA, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) have all classified TCE as carcinogenic to humans. TCE exposure has been linked in human studies to liver cancer, kidney cancer, multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. We have settled major TCE lawsuits against companies like Lockformer, Honeywell, and Kraft Foods on behalf of families and neighborhoods affected by TCE vapors and groundwater contamination.

PCE (Perchloroethylene)

PCE, also known as tetrachloroethylene, has been widely used in dry cleaners and as a metal degreaser in factories. For this reason, PCE contamination is often found in soil and groundwater near dry cleaning facilities and industrial sites. Exposure can occur through inhalation of contaminated air, drinking contaminated water, and occupational contact. In 2023, due to the health risks associated with PCE, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a 10-year phase-out of PCE in dry cleaning, and a ban on manufacturing PCE for consumer uses within two years. IARC has classified PCE as a probable human carcinogen based on studies linking it to bladder cancer, multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Ethylene Oxide

Ethylene oxide (ETO) is a flammable gas used to sterilize medical equipment and in the production of chemicals. It can be found in the air near sterilization facilities and industrial plants that produce or use ethylene oxide. People can be exposed when they inhale air emissions from industrial facilities or work with ETO in their occupation. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified ethylene oxide (ETO) as a group 1 carcinogen, meaning it is carcinogenic to humans. The US EPA also classifies ETO as a “known human carcinogen”. Ethylene oxide exposure is associated with breast cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma, leukemia, other lymphomas, and miscarriages. Sterilization companies have faced lawsuits from individuals living near their plants, who have alleged that ETO emissions have caused their cancer or other health issues.

Vinyl Chloride

Vinyl chloride (VC) is a colorless gas used to produce PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic. VC can also be formed when TCE and PCE degrade in groundwater. Contamination can be found in the air and groundwater near manufacturing plants and hazardous waste sites. People can be exposed to vinyl chloride through inhalation of contaminated air and drinking contaminated water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) have classified vinyl chloride as a known human carcinogen. Exposure to vinyl chloride can cause an increased risk of a rare form of liver cancer (hepatic angiosarcoma), as well as primary liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma), brain and lung cancers, leukemia, and lymphoma.


Toxics Fumes Benzene is a widely used industrial chemical found in products such as plastics, resins, and synthetic fibers. Since benzene is a natural part of crude oil and gasoline, it is found in emissions from burning coal or oil, motor vehicle exhaust, and evaporation from gasoline service stations. Benzene contamination can occur in the air, water, and soil near industrial sites, oil refineries, and gas stations . People can be exposed to benzene through inhalation of polluted air, drinking contaminated water, and occupational contact. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have both classified benzene as a group 1 carcinogen, i.e., known to cause cancer in humans. Benzene exposure has been linked with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

PCBs (Polychlorinated Biphenyls)

PCBs are synthetic organic chemicals once used in electrical equipment, heat transfer fluids, light ballasts, caulking. PCBs persist in the environment and can be found in older buildings as well as soil, water, and air near manufacturing sites. People can be exposed through ingestion of contaminated food (especially fish), inhalation of polluted air, and occupational contact. Based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and animals, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified PCBs as carcinogenic to humans. PCB exposure is associated with liver cancer, melanoma, and some class II and class III PCBs are associated with breast cancer. Companies like Monsanto have faced numerous lawsuits for PCB contamination and its environmental and health impacts.

Types of Toxic Chemical Exposure Lawsuits

Toxic chemical exposure lawsuits aim to hold polluters accountable for the harm caused by exposure to hazardous chemicals. Here are three basic types of toxic chemical exposure lawsuits:

  1. Class Action Lawsuits: These lawsuits are brought on behalf of a group of individuals with similar claims against a defendant. They are beneficial for cases involving widespread harm where individual claims may not be feasible. Our toxic chemical exposure lawyers have significant experience with these kinds of lawsuits, having brought multiple class action claims against large corporations over the years.
  2. Property Damage Claims: Property damage claims focus primarily on lost property values in neighborhoods or communities contaminated with toxic chemicals, either in groundwater or soil. Families in these lawsuits seek compensation for diminished home values, contamination mitigation systems, and loss of use of their property. At The Collins Law Firm, our toxic chemical exposure attorneys also push to force the polluter to clean up the source of the contamination.
  3. Toxic Tort Lawsuits: These environmental claims deal with personal injuries resulting from exposure to harmful chemicals. Generally, plaintiffs who file a toxic tort lawsuit have been dealing with serious health issues, ranging from Parkinson’s disease to cancer. These lawsuits seek to prove causation and negligence on the part of the responsible party, and aim to secure compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Why Hire Collins Law for Your Toxic Chemical Exposure Case?

Doctor appointment Our toxic chemical exposure attorneys know how to win when pursuing a toxic tort personal injury or property damage claim. We also have a record of winning environmental class action claims. We have the experience and resources to take these complex cases to trial and beat the corporations that pollute without fear of consequences. Our successes include:

  • A record-setting $363 million verdict on behalf of a woman who contracted cancer after years of exposure to ethylene oxide emissions from a plant in her neighborhood. This verdict was the largest ever for a single plaintiff in Illinois history.
  • A $408 million settlement for 800+ clients with cancer attributed to a carcinogen emitted from a nearby sterilization facility.
  • A $34.5 million settlement for property damage in a neighborhood affected by toxic vapor intrusion.
  • $16.9 million class action settlement in a case involving TCE contamination of the groundwater under a large neighborhood.
  • $10 million class action groundwater contamination recovery for families with TCE in their drinking wells.
  • $8.19 million recovery in a class action lawsuit over TCE, PCE, and vinyl chloride contamination in the air, soil and groundwater.
  • $8 million settlement for families with TCE and PCE contamination in groundwater wells.
  • $7.2 million toxic tort personal injury settlement for a woman suffering from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after exposure to TCE.
  • $7.2 million Environmental class action settlement for PCE vapor contamination.
  • $5.5 million recovery in groundwater contamination case involving toxic vinyl chloride.
  • $5 million toxic tort recovery for a leukemia victim exposed to toxins.
  • $2.6 million recovery in a toxic tort personal injury case for a plaintiff who developed cancer after being exposed to TCE and PCE as a child in the drinking water in her home.
  • $2.5 million recovery for families with methane gas contamination from a nearby landfill.

We are also currently representing thousands of people in a class action case involving an industrial explosion and a toxic plume of contamination.

Call the Collins Law Firm When You Are Ready to Get Justice

Contact our law firm today if you or a family member is suffering due to toxic chemical exposure. Our experienced and aggressive trial lawyers are ready and willing to fight for you. We take all our environmental cases on a contingency basis, meaning you will not owe us anything unless we recover compensation for you. So, you have nothing to lose by calling us at (630) 527-1595 to schedule a free consultation.

Client Reviews
Shawn Collins is a very talented lawyer, as are all the attorneys on his team. I've known and worked with Shawn for more that 30 years. Not only is he a top notch technical litigator but his communication skills are second to none. If anyone I know is ever in need of an attorney, Shawn is my very first recommendation. He gives very solid advice that goes beyond the law. He is someone you can trust to tell you the truth so you are not lead astray in the complex legal world. You really can't find a better advocate. E.M.
We were incredibly satisfied with our experience with The Collins Law Firm. We worked closely with Ed Manzke and found that he had a personal touch and truly got to know us in addition to being knowledgeable and effective in his field. The caring and individual attitude helped us tremendously throughout the entire process and we always felt like our case was in safe hands. We would highly recommend The Collins Law Firm for both its stellar work and dedicated employees. M.A.
My father recommended The Collins Law Firm to me after watching Shawn Collins and Ed Manzke at trial representing Lisle residents against Lockformer. For years, he told us courtroom tales about Shawn and Ed, citing their incredible skill as trial lawyers and how they put the huge Lockformer legal team to shame. So when my son was the victim of a wrongful death, they were my first and only choice. I can't say enough to truly express how grateful I am to The Collin's Law Firm for all that they did for me and my family. This amazing team advocated for me in my darkest moments, surpassing my expectations in every way. I will be forever grateful to Shawn and Ed. K.D.
I have worked with Rob, Shawn and The Collins Law Firm team in connection with both complex business transactions and litigation over the past several years. Shawn is far and away the best business litigation attorney I have worked with. Rob has been our lead attorney on M&A and corporate restructures, and he has delivered each time, and on time. I would highly recommend Rob to get the deal done! W.D.
Rob has been our out-side General Counsel for ten years. As a business with a global presence, it is important that we have the very best legal representation. Rob and the team have guided us through litigation battles, negotiating and drafting our important business contracts, and advising us in our business strategies. He has a great team of lawyers working with him. M.F.