Aromatic amines exposure claimed in suit against major oil cos., others

Ann Knef Nov. 20, 2007, 5:00am

A Kentucky barge worker diagnosed with bladder cancer filed suit in Madison County Circuit Court claiming he was exposed to aromatic amines and aromatic amine-containing products over the course of a 30-plus year career.

Represented by Richard L. Saville, Jr. of Saville, Evola & Flint in Alton, David Burger is seeking in excess of $550,000 in damages from 38 defendants including Chevron, Conoco, Exxon Mobil, Marathon Oil Co., Monsanto, Turtle Wax and Union Carbide Corp.

Burger, who worked for about a dozen different employers transporting and tanking barges of aromatic hydrocarbons and aromatic amines from the early 1970s through this year, claims he was diagnosed with cancer in February.

Aromatic amines are known to be carcinogenic, especially to the bladder, ureter and renal pelvis, and are suspected carcinogens to the intestines, lung, liver and prostate, according to a medical reference website Hoslink. The definition also states that aromatic amines contain one or more rings of unsaturated or cyclic hydrocarbons, such as benzene.

Burger worked at the Shell Oil, Amoco Oil and Clark refineries in Wood River, among other locations, the suit states.

He claims he was exposed to and inhaled, ingested or otherwise absorbed aromatic amines fumes he worked with and around which were processed, produced, manufactured, sold, distributed, marketed and/or otherwise used by the defendants.

The suit claims the aromatic amines and aromatic amine-containing materials and products were unreasonably dangerous in that:

  • They contained aromatic amines, a toxin and human carcinogen, although suitable alternatives were available;

  • They were not accompanied by adequate warnings;

  • They were not accompanied by adequate instructions concerning proper methods for working with and around aromatic amines, materials and/or products, including specific instructions on how to avoid inhaling, ingesting or otherwise absorbing aromatic amines.

    Burger claims he has had to expend money for hospital, medical and other health care services and will have to do so in the future. He also claims physical pain, mental anguish and lost wages.

    The suit claims that the processing, production and/or use of aromatic amines and aromatic amine-containing materials by defendants and by others acting under the direction of defendants, in a manner causing the release of aromatic amines, constituted an ultra hazardous activity.

    Earline Burger, David Burger's wife, claims loss of consortium in the 11-count suit filed Nov. 13.

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