A West Virginia widow has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against four different companies claiming they are responsible for the benzene exposure that led to her husband’s death, the West Virgina Record reports.
According to the lawsuit filed on April 24, E. Jane Price is blaming Sistersville Tank Works Inc., Shell Chemical LP, Tauber Oil Company, and Valero Refining-Texas LP for the death of Robert G. Price, her husband. Mrs. Price alleges the companies did not create safety guidelines regarding adequate containing and handling of poisonous chemicals.
Robert Price was exposed to toxic chemicals such as benzene and formaldehyde, the suit claims, which led to his development of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). He died on June 6, 2015, from the disease after accruing $270,000 in medical expenses. The complaint also states that Jane Price has suffered loss of service and companionship with her husband.
Mrs. Price claims the companies did not take steps to make sure safety measures were being taken to avoid excessive exposure to the chemicals, and failed to provide adequate warnings for proper use.
The American Cancer Society states that benzene is in the top 20 most widely used chemicals in the U.S. It is a key ingredient in gasoline and is also used in the production of plastics, detergents, rubbers, dyes, and was formerly used as an industrial solvent. Benzene is colorless with a sweet odor, and is absorbed by inhalation or skin absorption. It is a known human carcinogen and has been linked to AML, MDS, lymphomas, as well as anemia.
On-the-job exposure to benzene is particularly hazardous, as many people who work in close proximity to the chemical are unaware of its danger. The lack of awareness can lead to higher levels of exposure and for longer periods of time.