Ethylene Oxide Lawsuit Lawyer

Unfortunately, factories in the United States continue to use or inadvertently produce hazardous chemicals in the manufacturing process. Despite policies and regulations to control toxic chemicals in the industrial sector, dangerous chemicals continue to plague workers and residents of nearby factories. Dozens of factories around the nation emit the hazardous chemical, ethylene oxide, which is a known human carcinogen. In 2017, chemical and plastics manufacturers released 84 metric tons of ethylene oxide at 71 facilities in the United States, jeopardizing the well-being of thousands of workers and residents in neighboring communities. Reach out now to find out how an ethylene oxide lawsuit against negligent manufacturers may benefit you.

Our law firm is currently handling lawsuits on behalf of those who have been injured or experienced the death of a loved one as a result of exposure to ethylene oxide. Lawsuits against companies that emit or produce ethylene oxide claim that exposure to the gas increases the risk of developing certain cancers.

What is Ethylene Oxide?

Manufacturing plants utilize ethylene oxide to produce other chemicals, sterilize medical equipment, or as a pesticide. Ethylene Oxide is a colorless and sweet-smelling gas derived from petroleum or natural gas. It is commonly applied to spices to fumigate them and is responsible for sanitizing over 50% of all medical devices. Primarily though, ethylene oxide is a chemical intermediate in the manufacture of ethylene glycol (antifreeze), textiles, detergents, polyurethane foam, solvents, medicine, adhesives, and other products. This means the manufacturing process of these products creates ethylene oxide. The toxic chemical can remain in the atmosphere for 69 days during the summer months and 149 days during the winter months.

Ethylene oxide exposure occurs in individuals through inhalation or ingestion. Working at industrial facilities or living in close proximity to plants increases the risk of exposure to emissions that contain ethylene oxide. Medical products, cosmetics, and tobacco can also expose the general population to ethylene oxide.

Ethylene Oxide Injuries

The EPA identified ethylene oxide as a known human carcinogen in 2016. Ethylene oxide is an effective sterilizing agent precisely because it has the ability to destroy DNA and trigger genetic mutations that can cause cancer. Studies link chronic long-term exposure to ethylene oxide to various cancers including:

  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL)
  • Myeloma
  • Lymphocytic leukemia
  • Brain cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Pancreas cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Uterine cancer

Ethylene oxide may also cause brain and nervous system damage, and reproductive issues.

What Do We Know About Ethylene Oxide Lawsuits?

Even though the EPA only recently declared ethylene oxide as carcinogenic in 2016, research that dates back to the 1980s raised questions as to the potential carcinogenic effects of the chemical. Individuals have filed lawsuits against companies who negligently produce emissions containing ethylene oxide. In 2019, approximately 76 lawsuits were filed against Sterigenics by individuals who claimed that ethylene oxide emissions from the company’s plant in Lake County are associated with several plaintiffs’ cancer diagnoses.

Additionally, lawsuits against Medline Industries, Vantage Specialty Chemicals, and West Virginia factories owned by Union Carbide all allege that the companies knowingly exposed their neighbors to the cancer-causing chemical. As of August 2021, more than 150 lawsuits were filed in Gwinnett County against BD Bard, a medical device company with facilities that emit ethylene oxide.

In a significant victory for ethylene oxide victims, a jury awarded a woman $363 million in a lawsuit filed against Sterigenics in September 2022. The plaintiff, Susan Kamuda, claimed that she developed breast cancer due to ethylene oxide emissions from a nearby Sterigenics facility. This hefty verdict could set the precedent for future ethylene oxide lawsuits. Currently, over 700 ethylene oxide lawsuits are pending in state courts.

Liability Law and Ethylene Oxide Cases

In most states, lawsuits can hold a company liable if its product creates unreasonable dangers and a plaintiff can demonstrate that:

  • the company knew or should have known that the chemical it releases is carcinogenic and dangerous;
  • the company failed to enact more effective measures to control its deadly emissions to protect the public’s health; and
  • injury or death resulting from exposure to its ethylene oxide byproducts.

Can I Recover Compensation for My Injuries in an Ethylene Oxide Lawsuit?

If exposure to ethylene oxide harmed you or a loved one, you may recover compensation for any or all of the following:

  • Past and future medical expenses;
  • Past and future pain and suffering;
  • Loss of wages; and
  • Other economic losses related to your injury.

Individuals who live or work near factories are most susceptible to the health risks of exposure to ethylene oxide. In a letter to the EPA, the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council stated that ethylene oxide exposure disproportionately affects lower-income and minority populations, but manufacturers continue to emit high levels of ethylene oxide with no regard for workers or residents. Claimants argue that companies refuse to adequately regulate ethylene oxide and blatantly ignore the safety of workers and families nearby. Prolonged ethylene oxide exposure is allegedly ruining the health of countless individuals nationwide. We understand that financial compensation cannot undo the side effects linked to ethylene oxide. However, our helpful team is on standby to discuss your potential ethylene oxide lawsuit.

How Our Law Firm Can Help You

The Lake Law Firm was founded by Edward J. Lake, Esq., a personal injury lawyer for over 25 years. Our dedicated team of attorneys is committed to seeking justice on behalf of those who have suffered injury or death due to the negligence of others. Our experienced attorneys handle many different types of pharmaceutical drugs, medical devices, and other defective products. The lawyers in our firm have helped collect millions of dollars for their clients. The Lake Law Firm will advocate for you and your rights. Please contact us for a free confidential case evaluation at (888) 274-0139 or submit an inquiry on this page.