A former employee of Illinois Central Railroad claims permanent lung injuries due to workplace exposure to asbestos, diesel exhaust, environmental tobacco smoke, toxic dusts, gases and fumes, according to a Federal Employers' Liability Act suit filed July 2 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

Joyce G. Nichols, Jr., who worked as a carman from 1964 until 1982, claims his employer failed to provide him a safe place to work, failed to provide him with safe equipment, failed to warn him of the hazardous nature of silica, asbestos and diesel fumes, failed to provide proper ventilation and failed to inspect railroad equipment and buildings to determine their contaminationn level.

Nichols claims he suffers "extreme nervousness as a result of his reasonable concern over the prospects of developing cancer caused by silica, asbestos, environmental tobacco smoke, and/or diesel fumes...," the complaint states.

Represented by William P. Gavin of Belleville and Robert Norton of Jones & Granger in Houston, Nichols is seeking in excess of $100,000 in damages plus costs of the suit.

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