Trials over Fatal Benzene Exposure to Begin Summer of 2014

Benzene exposure attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm report that the family of a man who passed away from effects of benzene exposure recently filed a lawsuit against American Cyanamid and 17 other companies. The lawsuit, which is to begin in August 2014, accuses the companies of knowingly and negligently exposing the man to benzene.

David Landry Jr. developed multiple myeloma after working at the Port Neches chemical plant during the 1970s. According to his family, his myeloma was caused by occupational exposure to various toxic and carcinogenic chemicals, including but not limited to benzene and benzene-containing products.

Multiple myeloma is cancer of the plasma cells, which are white blood cells present in bone marrow. Groups of plasma cells, called myeloma cells, can become cancerous and multiply, affecting bones, immune systems, kidneys, and red blood cells. According to the Mayo Clinic, risk factors that increase risks of developing the disease include exposure to radiation and working in petroleum-related occupations (petroleum workers are exposed to benzene or benzene-containing liquids).

The lawsuit filed by Landry’s family alleges that all 18 defendants failed to warn its employees and consumers about the dangers of working with benzene and the other chemicals involved in manufacturing. This is compounded by the fact that these companies knew about the risks associated with chemical exposure, a knowledge they fraudulently failed to disclose. His family is seeking compensation for Landry’s extensive medical bills, emotional distress, pain, impairment, disfigurement, and lost wages.

In 2008, USA TODAY released five special reports on toxic air and American schools. The fourth installment in this series was on the high school in Port Neches, Texas. A few blocks from the schools the gray towers of Port Neches chemical plant jut into the air, perpetually blowing out smoke. The two towers cool the factories that make rubber and plastics, using chemicals that are known carcinogens.

The plants were built during World War II, to manufacture rubber supplies, and they are now owned by ISP Elastomers and Texas Petrochemicals. For decades, butadiene was released through the smoke stacks, so much so that it sometimes formed clouds over roads near the high school. Hundreds of students remember this, and many are now attributing their cancers to the chemical release.

One man, Dave Cerami, graduated from Port Neches High in 1984, and has survived four bouts of cancer. The latest is now in his brain. He, along with nearly 30 other former Port Neches students, have sued the chemical plant and their former owners for directly causing their cancers. About 17 of those cases have settled out of court in undisclosed amounts. Ten are pending.

In 1989, Texas state inspectors sampled the air around the schools and determined the butadiene was present at more than four times the permissible level. Ten years later, in 1999, state inspectors again went to monitor the air, and themselves reported feelings of dizziness, nausea, and numbness. Even more troubling is that, in 2003, reports noted that butadiene levels were more than 120 times the state’s standard level. Even in the early 1980s, residents in the Port Neches area were associated their illnesses with the chemical plant.

In a case eerily similar to Landry’s, a man who worked at the Port Neches chemical plant filed a lawsuit against 28 companies after he was exposed to benzene and consequently developed blood cancer and multiple myeloma. His suit alleged the 28 defendants negligently failed to warn workers and customers about the dangers of benzene exposure, despite having actual knowledge of its health risks.

Several studies have confirmed that benzene exposure may causes leukemia, kidney cancer, and anemia, although the latency period for developing these and other health conditions can range between nine months and 20 years. Despite it being a known human carcinogen, the chemical continues to be widely used in United States industries.

If you or a loved one developed a serious illness as a result of occupational benzene exposure, you have important legal rights. Benzene exposure attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm have decades of experiencing advocating on behalf of benzene victims and their families, and can ensure you will receive the best representation and largest settlement possible.

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