Benzene, butadiene exposure blamed in Kentucky woman's suit

Steve Gonzalez Jul. 17, 2007, 7:45am

A Kentucky woman filed suit against 10 defendants in Madison County Circuit Court July 13, claiming her husband died from pancreatic cancer after exposure to benzene and butadiene.

Verona Beasley claims her husband Donald was diagnosed with cancer in early 2006, and was told that his disease was related to his exposure to benzene and butadiene.

Donald was employed as a tire builder at General Tire and Rubber Company in Mayfield, Ky. from 1970 until 1996.

Beasley claims that during the course of Donald's employment he was exposed to and inhaled, ingested or otherwise absorbed benzene and butadiene which was designed, manufactured, sold or distributed by the 10 defendants that include BP Amoco, Chevron, Continental Tire, Shell Oil and ConocoPhillips.

Benzene is an aromatic hydrocarbon that is produced by the burning of natural products. It is a component of products derived from coal and petroleum and is found in gasoline and other fuels and is used to make some types of rubbers, lubricants, dyes, detergents, drugs and pesticides.

Natural sources of benzene include volcanoes and forest fires. Benzene also is a natural part of crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke.

Butadiene is an industrial chemical used as a monomer in the production of synthetic rubber.

Beasley claims the defendants had a duty to exercise reasonable care and caution for the safety, health and welfare of her husband but failed in that duty by including benzene and butadiene in their products even though they would have a toxic and highly deleterious effect on the health of the person handling them.

She also claims the defendants failed to provide adequate warnings and instructions on benzene and butadiene, failed to recommend users to use personal protective equipment, and failed to recall or cease using benzene and butadiene.

Beasley claims Donald's disease had disfigured and disabled him, caused pain and suffering, medical expenses and lost wages.

Represented by David Jones of East Alton, Beasley is seeking damages in excess of $150,000, plus costs of the suit.

James Owens of Paducah also represents Beasley.

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