Erie Coke Corp. is charged with a $500,000 civil fine for benzene emissions that violate the Clean Air Act after having been warned that leaks required repair.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) discovered leaks of benzene during a November 2010 inspection at the Erie, Penn., plant, and immediately required the company to fix them. However, the EPA says Erie Coke Corp. never made the repairs.
Now the EPA has filed a lawsuit charging the company with violations of the Clean Air Act, under which Erie can be fined up to $37,500 per day for each violation. The suit also includes claims that Erie “failed to report information such as all potential sources of benzene emissions.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), prolonged exposure to benzene has been linked to cancer. The chemical, which is a key ingredient in gasoline, is colorless, evaporating quickly, making it hard to detect once it has been released into the air.
People who work for companies such as Erie Coke may have been exposed to benzene for extended periods of time. Benzene exposure happens most commonly through inhalation, but can also happen by skin absorption.
On-the-job exposure is a particular danger for benzene-related illnesses and injuries, such as Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), lymphomas and aplastic anemia. Although leukemia and lymphoma can take years to manifest, immediate effects of benzene exposure include dizziness, drowsiness, or even unconsciousness.
If you or a loved one has experienced benzene exposure and was diagnosed with leukemia or lymphoma, contact a Beasley Allen attorney for help. You’ll receive a no-cost consultation to learn your legal rights.