A former employee of a Madison County railroad company says his nearly 40 years of exposure to chemicals while on the job gave him cancer of the kidney.

William Grammer filed a lawsuit April 23 in Madison County Circuit Court against Illinois Central Railroad.

Grammer worked for Illinois Central Railroad from February 1972 through February 2011. During that time, he says he performed several jobs including switchman, brakeman, conductor and yardmaster in Madison, Marion and Franklin Counties.

Throughout the course of his employment Grammer claims he was exposed to harmful and hazardous chemicals and fumes. Those chemicals allegedly included diesel exhaust and fumes, asbestos, creosote, chlorinated hydrocarbons, pesticides and herbicides, according to the petition. Grammer contends he was required to work around the harmful chemicals and agents without proper respiratory equipment. Because of this, Grammer claims he was diagnosed with kidney cancer in January 2011.

He accuses the railroad company of negligence and of violating OSHA regulations and the Federal Employers' Liability Act for allowing him to work in an unsafe environment. Grammer asks for more than $50,000 in damages for medical expenses and costs of the lawsuit.

Attorneys Patrick S. O'Brien and Jeffrey E. Chod, of St. Louis, represent Grammer. They request a jury trial.

Madison County Circuit Court Case No. 13-L-624

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