Category Archives: Benzene

Man with MDS Files Benzene Lawsuit

A Kentucky man who has been diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) has filed a lawsuit against 18 companies for damages in excess of $200,000. He claims that his condition was caused by benzene exposure suffered during his work as a pipefitter, oil burner, and maintenance and repairman.

MDS is considered a precursor to a rare type of cancer known as acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). In fact, about one-third of all patients with MDS eventually develop AML – a condition linked to benzene exposure, which often occurs in high risk jobs such as the ones worked by Earl Brumleve.

Individuals who work in high risk occupations should look into the various state and federal regulations that govern workplace benzene exposure. Employers generally have an obligation to minimize the risk to their workers, and it’s important that workers understand their rights. In instances where workers’ rights have been violated, a lawsuit may be an appropriate course of action.

Cost Concerns May Lead to Less Testing of Wells in North Carolina

Who should pay for the testing of private water wells in Western North Carolina? That’s a question being debated by the state General Assembly, which passed a mandate last year requiring more testing of new wells. The testing would cost $230 to any developer who drills a new well.

Leaving the testing of new wells up to local health officials, as a new proposal suggests, would be a gift to developers, who wouldn’t be required to foot the bill. It would also mean less testing since local health officials would only conduct testing in known contaminated areas.

However, Former Rep. Charles Thomas, who opposes the bill and pushed last year to have benzene added to the list of substances to test for, said there’s no way of knowing where chemicals have been dumped in the area and how far the pollution from a former CTS Asheville plant has spread.

It’s unfortunate that cost is being put above the safety of those who drink the well-water, a powerful point made by Thomas: “Testing the water properly is a lot cheaper than treating a brain tumor in a 4-year-old.”

Ford Sued in Toxic Sludge Lawsuit

More than 650 residents of Ringwood, New Jersey, are suing Ford Motor Company over a toxic waste dump known as Sludge Hill. The area is one of the most polluted in the country and has been for decades – It’s been listed on the Environmental Protection Agency’s superfund list twice.

During the 1960s, Ford used the area to dispose of toxic by-products of its manufacturing processes. Paint, chemicals and battery acid-these and other hazardous waste products melted together to form a now rock hard toxic sludge that was originally a colorful liquid slime.

Residents Blame Sludge for Health Problems
The sludge contains benzene, lead and arsenic. Residents in the benzene lawsuit say the sludge contaminated their groundwater and many allege that they are sick as a result. Not surprisingly, Ford is denying any connection between the residents’ health problems and the toxic sludge.

In fact, the company is taking a defense similar to the tobacco companies by saying that genetic factors or benzene from the environment could have caused the residents’ current health issues. Ultimately, this defense did not work for big tobacco and hopefully it won’t work for Ford either.

Alan Steinberg, who heads the regional EPA, acknowledged that the residents’ health issues could very well be an effect of the benzene and other toxins they’ve been exposed to for so long. “…is there a potential that this contamination has resulted in sickness? Absolutely. I would still be very angry if I were a citizen of Upper Ringwood,” he said.

Suit Blames Former Employers for Benzene Exposure

A couple living in Brazoria County, Texas, recently filed a lawsuit against several petrochemical companies claiming they are responsible for a man’s benzene exposure. As a result of benzene exposure the man reportedly developed leukemia.

The suit, which was filed by Jan and James Callihan, names Univar USA, Atlantic Richfield Company and Shell Chemical LP, amongst others as defendants.

Leukemia Lawsuit Details

James Callihan claims that he was exposed to benzene after working with products that contained the harmful substance for over 20 years. Callihan began working with and around products that contained the known carcinogen in the 1960’s and claims he was never warned of the risks associated with the toxin.
“The plaintiffs would show that the negligence made the basis of this lawsuit, as committed by the defendants, was of such a nature so as to constitute gross negligence as that term is applied and interpreted by the State of Texas,” explains the lawsuit.

Products Containing Benzene Cause Illness

James Callihan was responsible for handling paint products that were manufactured, distributed, and sold by Sherwin-Williams. All of these products reportedly contained benzene. He also became the victim of exposure from the five other defendants during his time working as a journeyman laborer.
The Callihans state in the suit that James Callihan developed permanent and disabling injuries due to his benzene exposure, which eventually developed into acute myelogenous leukemia.
James and his wife are seeking compensation for their pain and suffering, mental anguish, physical impairment, lost wages, and acquired medical expenses.

Don’t Do it: Don’t cancel that car insurance in New Hampshire

Or anywhere for that matter.  An article over at the Wall Street Journal tells ow many people are cancelling their car insurance for economic reasons.  Especially in New Hampshire you need to think very carefully before you do this.

In New Hampshire, Car Insurance is not required, so there are many people driving around with no car insurance already.  So…If you cancel your car insurance you are getting rid of the most important part of your insurance (in my opinion) that is the unisured coverage.  I’ve posted on this before, but that is the insurance where when you get hit by someone with no insurance you can still use the coverage you have bought to protect yourself.

New Hampshire Car Accidents happen and they frequently happen with people with no insurance.  Think twice before canceling that insurance.

To read the Wall Street Journal Article.  See Road Risks Rise as more driversdrop insurance

Leukemia Patient Receives Help from TX Community

When Ivan Garcia was asked this Christmas season what was on his wish list, he replied with an answer that was anything but typical for a 13-year-old boy. He told his family he wants a couch. One that he can eat and sleep on if he wants. Not a typical request, but then again for someone who has spent the last few months in a hospital, a comfortable couch at home may just sound completely normal.
Garcia was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which is a cancer that affects the white blood cells, in late August. Since this time, his mother, two sister and brother have joined together to do all they can to help and support Ivan. And they have done all they can to ensure Ivan is comfortable and relaxed for the few days he is allowed home from the Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.
What Causes Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia?
For years researchers have been studying the causes and effects of various forms of cancer, including leukemia. Although a cure for cancer has yet to be found, there are now many treatments available and many believe that we are closer to finding a cure for this life-threatening illness.
There are many things that have been linked to leukemia and are deemed to be the cause of this cancer. For example, exposure to harmful chemicals like benzene has been known to cause leukemia and other forms of cancer and in some cases the illness seems to be hereditary. However, doctors are still trying to determine the cause behind Ivan’s sudden health problems.
Community Helps Family in Trouble
The Garcia’s recently discovered that their home has been sold and they must move into a nearby trailer park. However, when Ivan was diagnosed and had to be hospitalized their move was delayed; though after Hurricane Ike hit, their home was nearly destroyed and they are now living with cracked walls and floors. Now, Dorothy Kelley, chairman of The Tony-Frankin Foundation has begun assisting the family and recently joined the community together to start Project Ivan: Home Makeover.
With the help of many others, Dorothy is gathering donations from various groups and organizations to help rebuild the Garcia’s home and help them financially so they are able to keep their home.
“I am thankful for all the help I am getting,” says Ivan.

Diesel Truckers at Risk of Benzene Exposure

Recent reports have revealed that trucking company workers who are being continuously exposed to diesel exhaust are at high risk of developing various forms of cancer. Benzene, a toxic chemical and known carcinogen, is a commonly used additive in gasoline and for those who spend their day to day lives being exposed to these fumes; the chances of developing cancer are higher.
A national study was recently done regarding truckers and the high risk of cancer and it reportedly found that workers who are exposed to exhaust from vehicles on the highways, city streets and loading docks are at higher risk of developing lung cancer than other workers.
Study Exposes Risk of Cancer
The study, which was analyzed 31,135 worker records, discovered that drivers, who do short-haul pickups and deliveries, including the loading and unloading at ports, had a noticeable increase in the rate of deaths and disease. Dockworkers were also found to have a higher risk, say researchers from UC Berkeley and Harvard who conducted the study.
After results from the study were made public, California’s Air Resources Board decided they were going to me to further discuss the study and its findings. During this meeting, they will be voting on a landmark regulation that aims to reduce the overall risk to the of benzene exposure to the general public from the nearly 1 million diesel trucks that exist in the state.
If this new rule is adopted by state lawmakers, California will be the very first state in the nation to require a replacement of every privately owned, diesel truck that’s now on the road. The law will also hold true for vehicles that are registered in other states and nations.
“This study confirms that truck drivers exposed to diesel have higher lung cancer rates,” explains Dr. John Balmes, who is a professor at UCSF and UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health.

Foundation Gives $10M for Research into Cerebral Palsy & Other Conditions

The Hope Center for Neurological Disorders has received a $10 million gift from the Danforth Foundation for research into the diagnosis and treatment of cerebral palsy and other conditions caused by injury to the brain and/or central nervous system.

About Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is a group of neurological disorders that impairs movement and is caused by damage to the brain, usually before birth. However, what causes damage to the brain during this time is largely unknown. In some cases, damage can occur as a result of trauma during or shortly after delivery.

The condition is often diagnosed in early childhood, when symptoms begin to become more obvious. There is no cure for cerebral palsy, but various treatments can help improve an individual’s quality of life.

Another $10M for Research
Other conditions the research funding will support include:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Stroke

The Hope Center was created in 2004 and represents a partnership between Washington University’s School of Medicine in St. Louis and the public charity, Hope Happens. Over the next five years, the two organizations will raise another $10 million for the same research.

New Rule Against Benzene Exposure at Work

According to recent reports, the Labor Department is racing to complete and implement a new rule that was opposed by President-elect Barack Obama regarding benzene emissions. The new rule would supposedly make it harder for the government to regulate toxic substances to which employees are exposed to while on the job.

The rule is reportedly being strongly supported by business groups and states that in assessing how risky certain substances are to the workplace, federal agencies should gather and analyze evidence of the employees’ exposure during their working lives. In many cases, the proposal would add a step to the process of developing higher standards in regards to protecting the health of workers.

Benzene Rule Details

Public health officials worry that the rule will only delay much needed protections for workers across the country, which could ultimately result in more deaths and illnesses.  The Labor Department proposal is reportedly one of 20 highly debatable rules that the Bush Administration is trying to pass during his last weeks in office. The other rules cover a wide array of topics from abortion, to auto safety and the environment.
The one regarding benzene emissions at workplaces across the country is of importance due to the harm that benzene can cause to anyone exposed over an extended duration of time. Benzene is a toxic chemical that has been linked to leukemia and other cancers. It is typically used in gasoline, dyes, synthetic rubbers, and cigarettes. If this rule is passed and workers across the country aren’t protected from benzene and other toxic chemicals, more and more people could die and become ill from diseases linked to these substances.

Family Sues Texaco Over Benzene Exposure

According to reports, the family of a deceased refinery worker recently filed a lawsuit against the worker’s former employer, Texaco. Although 14 other corporations have been named in the lawsuit, Texaco is serving as the primary defendant. The refinery worker’s life was taken at an early age due to cancer and the family claims that the cancer was wrongfully caused.

Lawsuit Details

The lawsuit was filed by plaintiffs Kelly Dial and Wesley Maida, who are the children of the deceased worker, Samuel Maida Jr. According to the suit, Samuel worked for Texaco at its Port Arthur facility for several years before the 1970’s when the risks of benzene were discovered.

Samuel was allegedly exposed to benzene, a known carcinogen, during his time at Texaco but was not warned of the risks or protected in any way. As a result, his health was jeopardized and his life was taken at any early age. The company reportedly failed to warn any of their workers of the dangers of benzene and the suit states that they were negligent and should have been aware that their products were dangerous and contained benzene.

Man Suffers from Leukemia

As a result of the benzene exposure, Samuel spent the last months of his life suffering from leukemia before it suddenly took his life. Among the other defendants named in the suit are Chevron, Dow Chemical, and PPG Industries.

Samuel’s family claims that he suffered extreme mental anguish and physical impairment before his life was taken. His family also reportedly had to pay thousands in medical expenses, suffered from loss of companionship and lost wages due to their sudden loss.

“Such Defendants have not only demonstrated a willingness to sacrifice human beings such as Samuel Maida Jr., but they have inexcusably neglected to utilize available technology and methods and neglected to develop new technology and methods to control such hazards,” claims the suit.