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Trichloroethylene Exposure Lawsuit

If you or a loved one has been exposed to TCE or PCE we can help.

Home / PA / Product Liability / Toxic Exposure (TCE)

Trichloroethylene (TCE) and Tetrachloroethylene (PCE) Exposure Lawsuits

Joseph Lanni, Esq., and Jaehyun Oh, Esq. of the Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm are currently leading the charge against TCE and PCE.

They represent former employees of Brookhaven National Laboratory (“BNL”) who were exposed to TCE and PCE for decades while working at BNL, where they manufactured computer components for the federal government. These chemicals have since become recognized as a human carcinogen by the U.S. EPA and other national and international agencies.

The Firm has filed, and will continue to institute, lawsuit on behalf of workers who were routinely exposed to TCE and/or PCE at BNL including through direct inhalation of the toxic fumes, and who have subsequently been 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.

The 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 had 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 rules aimed at protecting worker health and environment at BNL. 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 proper 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 latent development of debilitating illnesses including renal cancer.

What are TCE and PCE?

An Overview:

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. Its primary purpose was to remove grease and stains from machinery, metal parts, electronic equipment, and weapons, but also saw use in computer, electronics, and chemical manufacturing, as well as in telecommunications.

TCE is also used as a dry-cleaning agent and 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 either 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, the 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 (PPE) must be worn at all times.

Adverse Health Effects Of TCE And PCE

Exposure to both TCE and PCE can cause cancer and a myriad of other serious health problems. The EPA and WHO both recognize that exposure to TCE is dangerous and potentially life-threatening, and have identified causative links to kidney / renal failure or cancer, liver failure or cancer, bladder failure or cancer, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

health effects of TCE and PCE

The effects of TCE and PCE have been the subject of active research recently. 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 link long term exposure to TCE and PCE to the following cancers and serious medical conditions:

Serious Illnesses Associated With TCE And PCE Exposure

Bladder Cancer Kidney / Renal Cancer Or Failure Ovarian Cancer
Breast Cancer Leukemia (All Types) Parkinson’s Disease
Cervical Cancer Lung impairment or cancer Prostate Cancer
Esophageal Cancer Malignant Lymphoma Rectal Cancer
End-stage Renal Disease Multiple Myelomas Scleroderma
Impaired Immune System Function Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

In addition, research has indicated that TCE and PCE is a teratogen, as it poses a danger to pregnant women due to its ability to cross the placental barrier and into the fetus.

Serious Health Complications In Children Associated With TCE And PCE Include:

TCE and PCE Teratogenic Effects

Cardiac Defects Eye / Ocular Defects Neural Tube Defects
Choanal Atresia Fetal Death Oral Cleft Defects
Conotruncal Defects Low Birth Weight

Routes Of Exposure: How TCE And PCE Can Harm Your Body

TCE contamination is the result of improper industrial waste storage and management and inadequate worker safety management. You can become exposed to TCE and PCE by three routes: inhalation, ingestion, and trans-dermal contact.

TCE and PCE belong to a class of chemicals called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, meaning that they vaporize quickly in the air. When working with either chemical, proper personal protective equipment, such as a respirator or breath mask, must be worn at all times to prevent chemicals from entering your lungs. Contamination also might occur if you live or work near a place that has used TCE improperly.

One of the more frightening aspects of TCE/PCE contamination is that it can leach into water sources and systems. You can be exposed to TCE by drinking water or washing your hands and face 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 vapors slowly migrate up through contaminated soil and into buildings through cracks and utility line openings. Also, breathing in 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 chemicals are rapidly metabolized to produce a host of toxic metabolites and can cause the serious medical conditions outlined in the previous section.

TCE And PCE Brands

TCE and PCE have been sold under a wide variety of different brands over the years.

The following products contain TCE:

  • Anamenth

  • Blacosolv / Blancosolv

  • Tri/ Tri-plus / Triasol

  • Triclene / TRI-clene / Trike

  • Cecolene / Circosolv

  • Dow-Tri

  • Dukeron

  • Vestrol / Vitral / Westerosol

  • Zep / Zep Power Solv II

  • Fleck-flip / Flock FLIP

  • Perm-a-chlor / Petzinol

  • Zep AeroSolve II

The following products contain PCE:

  • Antisol / Antisol 1

  • Didakene

  • Dilatin PT

  • Dow-per

  • Perc / Perk

  • Perclene / Perclene D

  • Percosolv/ Percosolve / Perklone

  • Tetlen

  • Tetralex / Tetravec / Tetropil

Industries Using TCE And PCE

TCE and PCE were and in some cases, still are, primarily used in heavy industries and manufacturing as a metal degreaser, heavy-duty stain remover, and organic solvent.

Occupations that involved TCE or PCE include, but are not limited to:

Industries Associated With TCE And PCE Usage

Chemical Manufacturing Heavy Industries Electronics, Tech, And Cleaning
Adhesive Manufacturing Aircraft Manufacturing And Repair Computer And Electronic Manufacturing
Cement Manufacturing Automobile Manufacturing And Repair Dental Equipment Manufacturing
Chemical Synthesis Machine Shop Operating Dry Cleaning
Hazardous Waste Disposal Machine tool Manufacturer Medical Device Manufacturing
Industrial Gas Manufacturing Metal Electroplating Or Polishing Nuclear Engineering
Paint Manufacturing Metallurgy Telecommunications
Plastics Manufacturing Pump Manufacturing Weapons And Munitions Manufacturing
Petroleum Refining Ship Building And Repair
Synthetic Rubber Manufacturing

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.

TCE Lawsuits: News Articles

Jacob Fuchsberg attorneys Joseph Lanni and Jaehyun Oh are suing Brookhaven Science Associates, former manager 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

Jacob Fuchsberg discusses the TCE lawsuit against Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) and two manufacturers of cleaning products.

New York Times Feature: Workers at Big Government Lab Sue Over Exposure to a Toxic Chemical

News12 TV: Brookhaven lab employees file suit over exposure to toxic chemical

 

Compensation For TCE Exposure

Employers have a responsibility to protect employees and provide a safe work environment. Should any employer fail to do so and a worker falls ill as a result of TCE exposure, the injured workers 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 have been diagnosed with any of the severe diseases listed above, please do not hesitate to contact Joseph Lanni, Esq. and Jaehyun Oh, 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 exposure to TCE and PCE get the compensation they deserve. To schedule a free consultation, please use the form below or call us at 212-869-3500.

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