Environmental

Town hall meeting to warn factory workers about benzene exposure risks

Benzene Town hall meeting to warn factory workers about benzene exposure risksA woman whose father died after years of being exposed to the carcinogenic chemical benzene is calling a town meeting in Kokomo, Indiana, in hopes of connecting with factory workers who may have become ill to help them should they wish to take legal action.

“It’s always been my goal to help the retirees, the workers that are there,” said Sherry Roe, whose father, Glenn Dukes, worked for Delco Electronics for 28 years. In 2009, he was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer called acute myeloid leukemia (AML), and died two months later. His death certificate listed AML and “history of benzene exposure” as the cause of death.

Benzene is a widely used chemical used to make plastics, resins, synthetic fibers, rubber lubricants, dyes, detergents, drugs and pesticides. According to the American Cancer Society, benzene exposure is a risk factor for AML.

Dukes’ estate sued several companies that supplied materials to Delco Electronics including Red Spot Paint and Varnish Co., Dupont, BASF Corporation, The DOW Chemical Co., Dow Corning Corporation, Exxon, and Mays Chemical Co. All the companies except Dupont and The DOW Chemical Co., settled in January 2017. Delco was never named in the lawsuit due to Indiana law that shielded the company from litigation.

Roe assisted with the discovery for her father’s lawsuit and obtained a plethora of information that she wants to share with other factory workers who may have fallen ill. She is focused on workers who have been diagnosed with AML, but also its precursor myelodysplastic syndrome and multiple myeloma, which are also linked to benzene exposure. She thinks the information she has could help them receive compensation should they choose to seek legal action.

Roe’s town hall meeting will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 24 at Richard’s Restaurant in Kokomo. Roe also intends to publish a book, “Profits Over People,” about her investigations.

Source: Kokomo Perspective