A West Virginia man allegedly suffering from years of benzene exposure has filed a negligence lawsuit against multiple companies, claiming they exposed him to benzene on the job but never warned him about its toxicity.
David Hyre, an industrial mechanic, filed the complaint in Kanawha (West Virginia) Circuit court, the West Virginia Record reports. He names as defendants CRC Industries, Safety-Kleen Systems, Radiator Specialty Company, United States Steel Corporation, and E. L. du Pont de Nemours & Co.
Mr. Hyre’s lawsuit alleges that the defendant companies manufactured, marketed, supplied, sold, and distributed products containing benzene, a chemical that can trigger a range of potentially deadly blood disorders.
Long-term exposure to benzene, even in trace amounts, can damage cells at the DNA level, causing changes in stem and bone marrow cells, which in turn can trigger Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) — a group of cancers that impair the body’s ability to produce healthy levels of white blood cells, red blood cells, and blood platelets.
MDS can also develop into Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) and several subtypes of the blood cancer, including childhood leukemia (particularly AML), acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), and other blood-related cancers such as multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
According to the West Virginia Record, the lawsuit states Mr. Hyre worked from 1980 to 2009 as an industrial mechanic in the Parkersburg, West Virginia area performing various types of mechanical work. He claims that during those years, he was exposed to dangerous levels of benzene through the products associated with the defendant companies. He alleges the defendants knew the risks of benzene exposure but failed to warn him or take other measures to protect him.
In July 2017, Mr. Hyre was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), “including multiple related adverse blood and bone marrow effects, cellular abnormalities anemia, genotoxic effects and resultant DNA and chromosomal damage.”