In a recent benzene lawsuit, 20 companies were named as defendants, including BP, Chevron, Texaco, Atlantic Richfield, BASF, Citgo, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Shell, Sunoco, Total, Union Oil and Valero.
Plaintiffs Daniel and Renee Sikes have filed a lawsuit against the companies at the end of December over long-term exposure to benzene that allegedly caused a life-threatening disease. Daniel Sikes worked at the Sunoco facility in Nederland from 1976-2013, after which Sikes developed Non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
According to the suit, the companies negligently exposed him to benzene, a key ingredient in gasoline, without warning him of the dangers.
Non-Hodgkins lymphoma is an incurable disease that affects the cells of the body’s immune system. The disease is usually treated by some form of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, biologic therapy, or a combination of the three.
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. Many who work in close proximity to benzene are unaware of its potential to cause serious diseases and cancers, and yet benzene is widely used in a number of industries and products.
The most common way that benzene enters the body is through inhalation, but it also can easily be absorbed through the skin. Once 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.
Source: SE Texas Record