A New Orleans couple are suing multiple companies over injuries they allege are caused by exposure to benzene containing products.
Miles and Angeline Elder have filed a lawsuit against the makers of Liquid Wrench and Gunk, saying the benzene in the product caused Miles’ tissue damage that led to multiple myeloma. Elder claims to have had prolonged exposure as well as extended uses of the product and other benzene-containing household chemicals. The companies include CRC Industries, Berryman Products, W.M. Barr & Co., Radiator Specialty Co., U.S. Steel, Shell Oil, Harry’s Hardware, and Mike’s Hardware and Supply.
The companies are being accused of negligence due to failure to properly warn, as well as overall negligence.
According to the American Cancer Society, multiple myeloma is a disease that affects plasma cells, cells made in the bone marrow that are a vital part of the immune system. When plasma cells become cancerous, they begin to grow at a rapid pace, creating a tumor in the bone and possibly in tissue. If someone develops multiple tumors in the bone, the diagnosis is multiple myeloma.
Occupational exposure is a high risk factor in the development of benzene-related illnesses and injuries such as Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), lymphomas and Aplastic Anemia.
The most common way that benzene enters the body is through inhalation, but can easily be absorbed by skin contact. When the chemical reaches the bloodstream, it damages bone marrow and blood-forming cells, which directly affects white and red blood cells, as well as platelets. Workers in the petroleum industry are at particular risk for excessive exposure, including those who work in refining and extraction positions as well as those responsible for product shipping and transport.