Former railroad worker sues Union Pacific for exposing him to benzene

benzene railroad worker shutterstock 502923202 349x210 Former railroad worker sues Union Pacific for exposing him to benzeneA St. Louis, Missouri, man is suing Union Pacific Railroad Co., alleging during the 13 years he worked for the company he was exposed to a toxic chemical that contributed to his cancer diagnosis, the St. Louis Record reported.

Clifton Raymond filed his lawsuit Dec. 12 in the St. Louis 22nd Judicial Circuit Court, citing the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, a law enacted to protect and compensate railroad workers injured on the job. The law requires the worker to prove the railroad was at least partly legally negligent in causing his injury.

From 1972 to 1985, Raymond worked for Missouri Pacific Railroad Co., and then Union Pacific when it bought Missouri Pacific in 1980. During that time, Raymond claims he was exposed to various products that contained benzene. He says his regular exposure to the chemical caused him to develop colon cancer in 2011.

Raymond alleges the railroad company failed to provide adequate clothing and/or equipment to protect him against benzene in products at the workplace, and failed to warn him of the dangers of being exposed to the toxic chemical.

Benzene is a colorless volatile chemical present in coal tar and petroleum. It is also used as a solvent in many industries. The Department of Health and Human Services has determined that benzene is a known carcinogen and there are no safe levels of exposure.

Over time, benzene can cause harmful effects to the bone marrow and a decrease in red blood cells, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Benzene exposure has been linked to blood cancers including acute myeloid leukemia.

Raymond is requesting a trial by jury and seeks damages for his injuries.

St. Louis Record