A Texas man is suing 21 companies claiming that he was exposed to cancer-causing benzene while working with a chemicals and materials company in Port Arthur, Texas, which he says caused him to develop multiple myeloma.
The case was filed on behalf of Ronald Smith, who was employed with Sinclair Koppers (sued as Atlantic Richfield) from 1967 to 1998. He claims he was exposed to benzene from the mid 1960s through the late 1970s. He says the companies knew that emissions of the carcinogenic chemical were released into the ambient air exposing workers to benzene risks. Yet they failed to warn workers or protect them from harm.
Companies named in Smith’s lawsuit include Amsco Steel, BP, Honeywell, Shell Oil, Texaco, Dow Chemical and Union Oil. His lawsuit was filed Aug. 9 in Jefferson County District Court.
Benzene is a colorless, flammable liquid that is used as a solvent in many workplaces including oil refineries, chemical plants, and gasoline-related industries. The American Cancer Society has identified long-term exposure to high levels of benzene as a risk factor for some types of blood cancer, or leukemia. Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer related to lymphoma and leukemia.
Several agencies, including the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the National Toxicology Program, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency have classified benzene as a cancer-causing agent. Yet, more than five million workers in the U.S. continue to be exposed to benzene at levels that may be hazardous to their health.
SE Texas Record
American Cancer Society