Edwards & Kautz
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Paducah Legal Issues Blog

Risk for heart attack, stroke goes up with pesticide exposure

Kentucky residents should know that there is a link between pesticide exposure and certain medical conditions. From 1965 to 1999, the Kuakini Honolulu Heart Program observed the incidence of heart attack and stroke among nearly 8,000 Japanese-American men on the island of Oahu. A new study has taken the data from this and combined it with OSHA data on the level of pesticides that the men were exposed to in order to determine a connection.

Men who were exposed to high pesticide levels were 45% more likely to suffer heart attack or stroke with the first 10 years of pesticide exposure being the riskiest. After that, the effects of the pesticides tapered off. After 34 years, researchers could not find any connection between pesticide exposure and the risk for heart attack and stroke, but this may be because aging became a more prominent factor.

An increasing number of Americans are getting busted

Kentucky residents may be interested in learning about the long-term effects that the increased arrest rate in the United States has on people's lives. It's estimated that a person who gets arrested at least once by the time they are 26 years old is going to make around $5,000 less per year than their counterpart who has never been arrested. If a person has been arrested multiple times by the age of 26, they will make around $8,000 less than someone who was not arrested by that age. This means that over the course of their life, a person who gets arrested by can lose between $180,000 and $275,000.

The challenges increase if a person is convicted of a crime. Their employment options are limited for a number of reasons. If a person spends time behind bars, they are not going to have the work experience or the work skills needed to attract the attention of some employers. Many employers opt to hire people who have clean records. Occupational licensing requirements, which are needed for around 25% of all jobs, require that a person have a clean record before they can apply.

Miners, gas workers at risk of hearing loss

Miners and oil and gas workers in Kentucky may be at a higher risk for hearing loss, especially if they are exposed to dangerous levels of noise. In some sectors of these industries, workers had up to a 30% chance of hearing loss while around one-quarter of other workers had some damage to their ability to hear. Exposure to dangerous noise levels as defined by OSHA regulations is common in the mining industry as well as in oil and gas extraction. Experts say that around 61% of all workers in these industries experience high noise levels; this risk can be exacerbated by the presence of chemicals also linked to a greater likelihood of hearing difficulties.

Among miners, around 24% of workers exposed to noise also had some level of hearing loss. This kind of workplace injury can develop over time due to continued occupational exposure to high noise levels. While workers in gravel and sand mining had the highest risk of hearing damage, with 36% suffering, other miners also faced serious problems. Around 31% of workers exposed to dangerous noise in uranium mining lost at least some of their hearing as did 28% of bituminous coal miners and 27% of iron ore miners. Even workers in support positions had a substantially higher risk of hearing damage.

Questioning jailhouse informants

When individuals living in Kentucky deal with the criminal justice system, they may mistakenly expect that their right to due process will protect them from being convicted of a crime. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Poor police work, corrupt legal systems and badly handled evidence can result in an unjust conviction of an innocent person. One area of particular concern in recent years has been the use of so-called jailhouse informants, individuals who meet a suspect in jail or prison and then claim that the suspect confessed to a crime.

The use of these informants has long been criticized by criminal justice reform advocates because jailhouse informants may often have a powerful motive to fabricate their testimony. In some cases, jailhouse informants may be recruited by law enforcement agencies and be promised benefits for their testimony. These benefits might include shortened sentences, being moved to a less restrictive corrections facility or dropped charges. The Innocence Project, a public advocacy group that has used DNA evidence to exonerate many prisoners, notes that one in five of their exonerations involved jailhouse informant testimony.

The excitement of motorcycle rides can be intoxicating but deadly

There is no doubt that the sense of freedom and excitement motorcycle riders experience make this a popular mode of transport. The fact that their bikes have only two wheels requires riders to have better coordination and more skills than drivers of cars need. The lack of protection such as seat belts, airbags, and an enclosed rider make motorcyclists vulnerable to a variety of bodily injuries from mild to catastrophic.

If you are an avid biker in Kentucky, you will know that protective riding gear that covers as much skin as possible, riding boots, gloves and a helmet are essential. Furthermore, constant awareness of your surroundings and defensive driving will go a long way to keep you safe. Unfortunately, many drivers of larger vehicles have little or no consideration for motorcyclists, and this could lead to accidents that happen in the blink of an eye.

How automated safety features can reduce crash risk

Kentucky drivers run the risk for a crash when backing out of parking lots, driving down the highway, changing lanes and doing other basic maneuvers. This is where advanced driver assistance systems can be of benefit. The ability of ADAS to prevent car crashes has been attested to by various tests. Now, a study from General Motors and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute has gauged the effectiveness of ADAS in the real world.

The study involved 3.8 million GM vehicles made between 2013 and 2017 and involved in crashes. Distinguishing between cars with ADAS and cars without it, analysts found that the former were at a lower risk for certain types of crashes.

Semi-autonomous crash highlights flaws in technology

Kentucky drivers know to pull to the side and watch out when they see police cars and fire trucks ahead, lights blazing. However, while self-driving vehicles aim to make the roadways safer, these cars do not yet fully reflect human perceptions of danger or even note the existence of emergency vehicles ahead. This challenge in developing truly autonomous cars was highlighted in a car accident involving a Tesla running its own semi-autonomous software, Autopilot, and a fire truck. The fire truck was parked ahead on a freeway along with police cars, responding to an incident. The Tesla ran into the back of the truck, leading to property damage but no injuries.

Despite the fact that the crash was relatively minor, it drew the attention of regulators and safety experts because the obstacle hit - the fire truck - was so large and visible. Tesla warns drivers against relying on Autopilot, noting that it is still semi-autonomous technology rather than a fully self-driving car. However, several car accidents have been linked to drivers remaining distracted while allowing their cars to operate in a fully autonomous mode. One of the flaws in existing robotic driving technology is the sensors' failure to clearly detect parked cars ahead.

Challenges in diagnosing and treating rare cancers

People in Kentucky with rare cancers may face a difficult time getting a correct diagnosis, let alone receiving the correct treatment for their diseases. There are very few treatment options for some rare forms of cancer. Furthermore, patients may only learn that they have these rare cancers after spending a long time searching for a correct diagnosis. The rarer a disease is, the more common misdiagnosis may be. When it comes to cancer and other types of progressive diseases, misdiagnosis can make the disease far more severe and difficult to treat. Early detection is particularly significant in cancer treatment.

Rare tumors, which can be especially challenging to study effectively, are often misdiagnosed. There are few people with these cancers to participate in any study. Most reports are individual and anecdotal, and doctors may not have a significant population to work with and engage in a proper clinical trial. This is one reason why many researchers are looking toward genetics and immunotherapy as a way to treat rare cancers. Several types of cancer find it difficult to repair their own DNA if damaged. Immunotherapies can be used to treat any of these cancers, even if one type is rarer than another.

Lyme disease is often undiagnosed

Many Kentucky residents could have Lyme disease and not even know it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 30,000 Americans contract the disease every year. Even so, many of them will not even know it. The symptoms of Lyme disease mimic that of other diseases, making it difficult for doctors to make a diagnosis.

One thing physicians use to determine a diagnosis is a history of tick bites. As such, if a tick is not present during an exam or a patient cannot recall being bitten, a doctor might not consider Lyme disease. They might also misdiagnose a patient because they share certain symptoms such as fever, headaches, fatigue, and skin rashes with other conditions.

Tread cautiously when dealing with insurers after an accident

One of the first things you learn to do after a motor vehicle accident is to contact your insurance company to report the crash. This act will set in motion the claims process that provides financial coverage for your vehicle damage and any injuries you and your passengers suffer.

Whether you opt into Kentucky's no-fault coverage or have personal injury protection on your policy, you will be dealing with an insurance adjuster. If you have paid up your premiums, you might assume a payout for your claim will be automatic. However, this may not be the case. Since insurance companies are in business to make a profit, you may find yourself battling for a fair assessment of your case.

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Edwards & Kautz

Edwards & Kautz
222 Walter Jetton Blvd
Paducah, KY 42003

Phone: 270-908-4914
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