Most Benzene Lawsuits Cancer Related
Benzene Attorneys Investigate Exposures
A recent mid-trial settlement in Philadelphia highlighted the ongoing legal battles between companies and employees harmed by the chemical benzene.
The Daily Hornet’s Elizabeth Bradley wrote the trial began on April 28, 2017 in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and lasted three weeks.
Michael Butts, a maintenance and repair mechanic with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML), accepted a confidential settlement “after the close of evidence but prior to submission to the jury,” according to a May 18 docket entry.
Butts worked as a mechanic for several businesses including Wigstens Dairy Farm, Vans Lawn Mower Shop, Lockwood Automotive, Gerald Sargent Excavation, Stortini Plumbing and Heating, and several others between 1965 and 2014.
Butts said he was exposed to benzene in gasoline and oil during his career. He was eventually diagnosed with AML, for which benzene exposure is a well-established risk factor.
Defendants in the Philadelphia case included oil companies ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron and Sunoco. Other defendants included the makers of benzene-containing products including Permatex Anti-Seize, Gumout Carb and Choke, Liquid Wrench, CRC Brakleen, Blaster Air Tool Conditioner, P’Blaster, Loctite Spray-a-Gasket, Wynn’s Brake Clear, Chemtool B-12, Safety-Kleen parts washing solvents, Johnsen’s Brake Parts Cleaner and Turtle Wax.
Benzene is an aromatic hydrocarbon compound used in the manufacture of plastics, resins and dyes and many other products. Numerous scientific studies detail benzene’s various adverse health effects, including causing acute myeloid leukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The 14th Report of Carcinogens published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Toxicology Program states benzene is a known human carcinogen based on sufficient carcinogenicity evidence.
Sick and dying workers have filed scores of lawsuits against petrochemical industry giants, hiring benzene attorneys armed with the latest science linking benzene exposure and cancer. The Center For Public Integrity (CPI) obtained internal memorandums, emails, letters and meeting minutes showing major American oil and chemical companies and their trade association, the American Petroleum Institute, spent $36 million on research “designed to protect member company interests.”
Peter Infante, a former director of the office that reviews health standards at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, said benzene-linked leukemia is a “battlefront” for oil and chemical companies.
“It’s in the industry’s economic interests to refuse to acknowledge the relationship between benzene and childhood leukemia,” Infante said.
Houston lawyer Robert Black told CPI he’s handled dozens of lawsuits for workers sickened by benzene, and he’s obtained 16,000 pages of corporate records showing how they fund research undermining the link between benzene and cancer.
“The conspiracy exists, and the conspiracy involves hiding the true hazards of benzene at low doses,” Black said.
He said industry strategy warns defense attorneys to “avoid unnecessary or inadvertent disclosure of sensitive documents or information,” and to only disclose “sensitive benzene documents” on court order.
Black called benzene’s effects on American workers and the oil and chemical industry’s suppression efforts “an American tragedy.”
As more research reveals the extensive links between benzene exposure and cancer, benzene attorneys will be there helping victims fight back against the oil and chemical industries. If you believe your recent cancer diagnosis might be related to your occupational or environmental exposure to chemicals, please contact the trial attorneys of Allen Stewart, P.C. The firm has decades of combined experience in helping those who have developed cancer due to toxic exposure, including benzene exposure.