Environmental

Benzene lawsuit names nearly two dozen companies

benzene fuel truck worker shutterstock 559876723 373x210 Benzene lawsuit names nearly two dozen companiesTravis Bergeron began working for a chemical company in Port Arthur, Texas more than 50 years ago, staying on the job for more than a decade. Now he claims the work gave him a deadly disease and he wants to hold accountable the companies that made him sick.

Bergeron claims that while working for Sinclair Koppers from 1967 to 1978, he was exposed to benzene, a toxic volatile, flammable liquid chemical byproduct of coal distillation that is used as an industrial solvent in various products. Benzene exposure is linked to blood cancers including leukemia. Bergeron was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells.

As a result, Bergeron filed a lawsuit July 26 in the Jefferson County District Court naming more than 20 companies including Sinclair Koppers (being sued as Atlantic Richfield), BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell Oil, Texaco and Marathon Oil. He claims the companies knew the benzene products they exposed workers to could cause cancer but acted with utter indifference, refusing to warn those who worked with or around the chemical of the risks.

Benzene causes cancer, and is listed as a known carcinogen by organizations 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.

More than five million people in the U.S. continue to be exposed to dangerous levels of benzene in the workplace.

Source: Southeast Texas Record