Personal Injury

Plaintiff Alleges Benzene in Consumer Products Caused Husband’s Death

An Illinois woman who lost her husband to an aggressive form of brain cancer has filed a lawsuit against several manufacturers, alleging their products exposed her husband to benzene and other potentially carcinogenic pollutants containing benzene.

According to the Madison County Record, Cheryl Stamper filed her complaint in Madison County Circuit Court in Illinois Oct. 18, naming as defendants Turtle Wax Inc., Shell Oil Co., Shell Chemical LP, BP Products North America, and others.

Ms. Stamper claims that her late husband, Steve Stamper, “was exposed to and inhaled or ingested benzene and benzene-containing pollutants that were negligently released into the environment by the defendants.” the Madison County Record reports.

“As a result, she claims he developed glioblastoma multiform, underwent chemotherapy treatment and suffered physical and mental pain and a shortened lifespan, and incurred medical expenses” before his death, according to the Madison County Record.

The lawsuit claims that the defendants acted negligently by using benzene and benzene compounds in their products when safer substitutes could have been used. The defendants also failed to provide sufficient warnings about benzene exposure risks on their products and take effective measures to mitigate harmful exposures, thereby breaching their duty to exercise reasonable care and caution for the safety of the general public, the complaint alleges.

Benzene is a colorless or light yellow chemical in liquid form and is usually odorless. It evaporates quickly when it contacts air, creating a potential environmental and health risk. The chemical has been linked to the development of acute lymphocytic leukemia in children, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and other types of cancer such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma in adults.

According to the American Cancer Society, benzene is among the 20 most widely used chemicals in the U.S. It is used mainly as a starting material in the production of other chemicals, including plastics, lubricants, rubbers, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides. It was also commonly used as an industrial solvent in the past.