Benzene complaint names 27 corporations as defendants

Steve Gonzalez Oct. 12, 2007, 4:24am

The estate of Robert Peckham filed suit against 27 defendant corporations in Madison County Circuit Court claiming benzene exposure.

According to the complaint, Peckham worked for various employers including Triad Industrial Cleaning in South Roxana cleaning benzene and benzene-containing petroleum at various locations in Wood River, East Alton, Kansas City and Henderson, Ky.

The suit claims Peckham's exposure to benzene was completely foreseeable and could or should have been anticipated by the defendants. It also claims the defendants knew or should have known that benzene had a toxic, poisonous and highly deleterious effect upon the health of the persons inhaling, ingesting or otherwise absorbing it.

The 10-count suit seeks in excess of $500,000 in compensatory damages and attorney fees

Shirley Peckham claims she has been deprived of the services, society, companionship, love and affection of her husband.

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.

Benzene, which is known to be a carcinogen, is used in the manufacture of plastics, detergents, pesticides and other chemicals.

The estate claims the defendants failed to exercise ordinary care and caution for his safety, health and welfare by, among other things:

  • Including benzene in their products and processes, even though it was completely foreseeable that people living around them would inhale or ingest benzene;

  • Including benzene in their products while defendants knew or should have known that carcinogenic chemicals would have a toxic, poisonous and highly deleterious effect on those handling them;

  • Including benzene when adequate substitutes were available;

  • Failing to allocate any or adequate funds to test, monitor, and research the human health affects of benzene-containing products or processes on residents living in proximity of where benzene was being used;

  • Failing to provide any or adequate warnings to people living around the area;

  • Failing to recommend the use of adequate personal protective equipment inhaling or living around benzene; and

  • Failing to recall or cease using benzene and products and processes containing benzene.

    The estate is represented by Richard Saville, Jr., Robert Evola and Ethan Flint of Alton.

  • More News