We represent former employees of Brookhaven National Laboratory (“BNL”) who were exposed to TCE and PCE for decades while working at BNL as technicians, machinists, mechanics, electricians, riggers, laborers, janitorial staff, scientists, engineers and police officers. These chemicals have since become recognized as human carcinogens by the U.S. EPA, IARC, other national and international agencies, scientists and medical researchers.
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The Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm has filed and will continue to institute, lawsuits on behalf of workers who were routinely exposed to TCE and/or PCE at BNL and other locations. The routes of TCE and PCE exposure are by direct inhalation of toxic fumes, direct contact with unprotected skin, ingestion of contaminated water, and vapor intrusion into buildings. The workers we represent were diagnosed with forms of cancer that can be linked to their repeated, long-term exposure to these chemicals. See New York Times Brookhaven National Laboratory article on these cases that was published on August 22, 2019.
Our lawsuit is directed against the manufacturers of these chemicals for manufacturing and distributing an unreasonably dangerous product without proper precaution. It is also directed against the private companies that contracted with the government to operate and manage BNL – Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI), and Brookhaven Science Associates (BSA). Notably, BNL has a long, documented history of reckless disregard toward environmental and safety concerns. In March 1998, the EPA cited AUI for lapses in compliance with federal laws aimed at protecting worker health and safety and the environment. In 1998, as a result of these safety concerns, the Secretary of Energy terminated the contract with AUI and instead signed a management contract with BSA. As part of this new contract, the BNL facility was required to abide by an international standard that specifies requirements for an effective environmental management system. Yet, BSA also failed to follow these standards and continued to expose BNL workers to toxic chemicals, including TCE and PCE, on a daily basis. As a result, our clients suffer from the latent development of debilitating illnesses such as kidney cancer and kidney failure.
Both TCE or trichloroethylene, and PCE or tetrachloroethylene, are man-made chemicals that were and, in some cases, are, still used in various industries and products due to their unique chemical properties. Their primary purpose is to remove grease, oils, grime, dirt and dust from machinery, metal parts, electronics, computers telecommunications and scientific instruments and facilities.
TCE is also used as a dry-cleaning agent and is an ingredient in compounds used to produce equipment and chemicals related to refrigeration and air conditioning. In addition, TCE has been used as an additive in paints, lubricants, cosmetics, and pesticides, among other things. Although its usage for certain applications (i.e. food and medical devices) was banned by the FDA throughout the 1970s to 1990s, TCE is still used in certain commercial products sold today, including dry cleaning solvents and heavy-duty stain and grease removers.
Exposure to TCE and/or PCE is a serious threat to public health and currently classified by both the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and World Health Organization (WHO) as known human carcinogens, the most serious grade possible. Both are dangerous substances that can be in the air, soil, and water. As outlined by the EPA, there is no safe level of exposure to either TCE or PCE and, if working with either chemical in an occupational or research setting, proper personal protective equipment must be worn at all times.
Exposure to both TCE and PCE can cause cancer and a myriad of other serious illnesses. The EPA and WHO both recognize that exposure to TCE is dangerous and potentially life-threatening, and they have identified causative links to kidney cancer, kidney failure, liver cancer, liver failure, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, esophageal cancer, and bladder cancer.
The effects of TCE and PCE have long been the subject of scientific research. While acute, short-term exposure to TCE and PCE can produce effects such as dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and loss of vision, there currently is strong scientific evidence that links long term exposure to TCE and PCE to a multitude of cancers and serious medical conditions. Our firm is focusing on the following illnesses for our TCE lawsuit:
Serious Illnesses Associated With TCE And PCE Exposure
TCE and PCE contamination is the result of improper industrial waste storage and management as well as inadequate worker safety management. You can be exposed to TCE and PCE via three routes: inhalation, ingestion, and trans-dermal contact.
TCE and PCE belong to a class of chemicals called volatile organic compounds or VOCs, meaning they vaporize quickly in the air. When working with such chemicals, proper personal protective equipment, such as a respirator or breath mask and gloves, must be worn at all times to prevent chemicals from entering your lungs. Contamination may also occur if you live or work near a place that has used TCE and PCE improperly.
One of the more frightening aspects of TCE and PCE contamination is that it can leach into water sources. You can be exposed to TCE and PCE by drinking or washing in contaminated groundwater. Additionally, bathing in contaminated water or breathing in steam laced with TCE can lead to serious adverse health effects.
TCE can also leach into your house or workplace through vapor intrusion, where TCE vapor can slowly migrate up through contaminated soil and groundwater into buildings through cracks and utility line openings. Also, breathing in the dust kicked up from TCE contaminated soil can lead to exposure. This can come from repeated walking, running, or playing sports on contaminated soil.
Once introduced into the bloodstream, both TCE and PCE are rapidly metabolized to produce a host of toxic metabolites and can cause the serious medical conditions outlined above.
TCE and PCE have been sold under a wide variety of different brands over the years.
The following products contain TCE:
The following products contain PCE:
TCE and PCE were and, in some cases, still are primarily used in heavy industries and manufacturing as a degreaser and solvent.
Occupations that involved TCE or PCE include, but are not limited to:
Electronics Computers and Telecommunications
Note that other jobs may be affected by TCE and PCE usage. For example, if chemicals were sprayed in a workshop that shares a ventilation shaft with an office, individuals working in the office may also suffer from occupational exposure.
Jacob Fuchsberg attorneys Joseph Lanni and Jaehyun Oh are suing Brookhaven Science Associates, Associated Universities and TCE manufacturers Dow Chemical and Zep, Inc., on behalf of Joseph Marino of Islip Terrace: NewsDay – Ex-BNL Staffer With Cancer Sues Over Use Of Toxic Cleaner
New York Times Feature: Workers at Big Government Lab Sue Over Exposure to a Toxic Chemical
Employers have a responsibility to protect employees and provide a safe work environment. Should an employer fail to do so and workers fall ill as a result of TCE or PCE exposure, the injured workers are entitled to proper compensation for related expenses and pain and suffering.
Manufacturers and distributors of products have a responsibility to sell safe products and provide proper use instructions and warnings for products that present hazards. Should any manufacturer or distributor fail to sell a safe product or provide proper warnings and instructions, and a worker falls ill as a result of TCE or PCE exposure, the injured users are entitled to proper compensation for related expenses and pain and suffering.
Similarly, a homeowner has the right to have drinking water and an environment that is healthy and safe. If a local business has failed to safeguard its supply of TCE or PCE and your home or workplace becomes contaminated, you may be eligible to have a claim against the negligent company.
If you or a loved one has been exposed to TCE or PCE through your workplace or home and has been diagnosed with any of the severe illnesses listed above, please do not hesitate to contact Joseph Lanni, Esq., Jaehyun Oh, Esq., or Ilana Wolk, Esq., at The Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm.
As one of New York’s premier personal injury law firms, it is our goal to make sure victims of TCE and PCE exposure get the compensation they deserve.
To schedule a free consultation with The Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm, please fill out the questionnaire below or call us at 212-869-3500.
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