A Pennsylvania pipefitter is suing U.S. Steel’s Clairton Works claiming that while working at the facility for 12 years he was routinely exposed to benzene and benzene-containing products, which contributed to his leukemia.
John F. Verlich filed the lawsuit in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas against the United States Steel Corporation of Pittsburgh. Verlich says he worked at the coke manufacturing plant from 1971 to 1983. Benzene results from the manufacturing of coke.
Terlich claims the volatile chemical was in valves, pumps and pipelines and stored in barrels and tanks throughout the plant. He claims he was exposed to benzene through inhalation, ingestion and skin absorption while working around the coke ovens, screening station, Keystone plant, tar plant and tar stills.
As a result of his occupational exposure to benzene, Verlich claims that in March 2016, he developed chronic lymphocytic leukemia, or CLL. CLL and other types of leukemia have been linked to exposure to certain chemicals, including benzene.
Benzene is one of the 20 most widely used chemicals in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. It is used to make dozens of other products and chemicals, including plastics, lubricants, rubbers, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides. It was also once commonly used as an industrial solvent and a gasoline additive, but these uses have been reduced in recent years due to the carcinogenic nature of the chemical.
Verlich claims that U.S. Steel either knew or should have known that regular exposure to benzene and products that contain benzene would pose health risks to its workers, but failed to protect him while working in this toxic environment.
American Cancer Society