People who work with or are exposed to ethylene oxide either by working or living near a chemical manufacturing plant that produced or used the colorless gas in large quantities are filing lawsuits against companies that emit these toxic gases, claiming exposure left them with chronic and life-threatening health problems.
If you or a loved one was exposed to ethylene oxide and developed cancer or a blood disorder, you may seek justice against those who harmed you and compensation for your injuries through an ethylene oxide lawsuit. Contact the Birmingham ethylene oxide lawsuit lawyers at Cory Watson Attorneys to hear your legal options.
Why Choose Cory Watson Attorneys for Your Ethylene Oxide Lawsuit?
The legal team at Cory Watson Attorneys has worked to protect the rights of injury victims across the country for over four decades. Through the years, our personal injury lawyers have successfully litigated against some of the most powerful companies in the world and recovered over $3 billion in verdicts, settlements, and judgments for our clients.
We are a big, powerful personal injury law firm in Birmingham, but we never lose sight of our core purpose — to advocate for those in their greatest time of need. There is no case too big or small for our experienced attorneys.
Contact us today to hear how we can help you hold these companies accountable for the harm they caused you and your family through toxic ethylene oxide exposure.
For a free legal consultation with a ethylene oxide lawsuit lawyer serving Birmingham, call 877-562-0000
What is Ethylene Oxide?
Ethylene oxide (EtO) is a colorless toxic gas produced in large volumes at some chemical manufacturing plants in the U.S. It’s also a known human carcinogen. People exposed to the gas may risk short-term health effects. Those regularly exposed to ethylene oxide over time may develop cancer and blood disorders.
EtO is primarily used to make other chemicals used in products like antifreeze, textiles, plastics, detergents, and adhesives. It is also used to sterilize devices that steam or radiation cannot sterilize, such as medical and dental equipment, as well as food products, including spices, certain dried herbs, dried vegetables, sesame seeds, and walnuts.
Birmingham Ethylene Oxide Lawsuit Lawyer Near Me 877-562-0000
Who Is Most at Risk of Ethylene Oxide Exposure?
The production or use of ethylene oxide can release the gas into the air. People who work with ethylene oxide or in places where it is produced or used, such as chemical plants or hospital sterilizers, are more likely to suffer harmful health effects from exposure to the gas. Those at greatest risk are workers who spent their entire careers at facilities directly handling EtO with minimal worker protections in place.
People who live, work, or go to school or daycares near facilities that release the toxic gas into the outdoor air may also risk ethylene oxide exposure.
A person’s risk depends on how long they were exposed, how much of the toxic gas they inhaled, and how far from the plant or EtO source they were. The health effects of ethylene oxide exposure may hurt children more than adults.
What Cancers Are Linked to Ethylene Oxide Exposure?
Various health agencies, including the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), classify ethylene oxide as a human carcinogen.
Regular exposure over many years increases a person’s risk of cancers of the white blood cells, including:
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Lymphocytic leukemia
Scientific studies also show that ethylene oxide exposure can cause other cancers, such as:
- Breast cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Lung cancer
- Brain cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Bladder cancer
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Other Ethylene Oxide Side Effects
Chronic exposure to EtO may also cause neurological symptoms such as memory loss and impaired hand-eye coordination.
Short-term inhalation exposure to large amounts of EtO can also lead to:
- Respiratory irritation
- Shortness of breath
- Gastrointestinal distress
Where Did Ethylene Oxide Exposure Occur?
The EPA identified residential areas near 23 high-risk EtO sterilization facilities with a cancer-risk rate above the EPA’s 100-in-a-million acceptable risk rate.
These include facilities in:
- Lakewood, CO – Terumo BCT Sterilization Service
- Groveland, FL – International Sterilization Laboratory
- Taunton, MA – Professional Contract Sterilization (PCS)
- Hanover, MD – Elite Spice, Inc.
- Jessup, MD – Elite Spice Inc.
- Salisbury, MD – Trinity Sterile, Inc.
- Jackson, MO – Midwest Sterilization Corporation
- Columbus, NE – Becton Dickinson Pharmaceutical Systems
- Franklin, NJ – Cosmed Group Inc.
- Linden, NJ – ETO Sterilization-Plant #2 (Cosmed)
- Ardmore, OK – LEMCO Ardmore
- Erie, PA – Cosmed Grop LLC
- Zelienople, PA – American Contract Systems Inc.
- Añasco, PR – Edwards Lifesciences
- Fajardo, PR – Customed, Inc.
- Salinas, PR – Steri-Tech, Inc.
- Villalba, PR – Medtronic PR Operation Co.
- New Tazewell, TN – DeRoyal Industries
- Memphis, TN – Sterilization Service
- Athens, TX – Steritec, Inc.
- Laredo, TX – Midwest Sterilization Corporation
- Sandy, UT – BD Medical
- Henrico, VA – Sterilization Services of Virginia
Why Are People Filing Ethylene Oxide Lawsuits?
People are filing ethylene oxide lawsuits against companies alleging they manufactured or used the toxic gas without sufficient poison controls to limit or eliminate ethylene oxide emissions. As a result, plaintiffs claim they suffered an increased risk of cancer. Some claim they suffered a diminished use and enjoyment of their land and reduced property values.
Some lawsuits claim that the defendants knew or should have known the health risks associated with ethylene oxide exposure but failed to use pollution control methods to eliminate EtO exposure or warn those who worked with or around the toxic gas or those who lived near their plants that emitted the gas.
When Was Ethylene Oxide Classified as a Carcinogen?
According to the National Institutes of Health, ethylene oxide was first listed as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on limited evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in humans and sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals” in the 1985 edition of the Fourth Annual Report on Carcinogens. The listing was revised to “known to be a human carcinogen” in the Ninth Report on Carcinogens in 2000 — more than two decades ago.
In 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that EtO was most dangerous when people inhaled it. Two years later, an initial analysis by EPA scientists identified ethylene oxide as the likely culprit for cancer diagnoses in people who lived near facilities that emitted the gas.
Ethylene Oxide Lawsuits Update
Thousands of people who lived around or worked in facilities that emitted ethylene oxide for several years and were diagnosed with cancer are filing ethylene oxide lawsuits seeking compensation for their medical bills and other damages.
Here is an overview of some of those cases:
- January 2023: Sotera Health Services, LLC, agrees to pay $408 million to settle over 870 ethylene Oxide cases pending against its subsidiary Sterigenics in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
- September 2022: A Chicago jury awarded Susan Kamoda $363 million, including $38 million in compensatory damages and $325 million in punitive damages, after finding that being exposed to ethylene oxide by living near Sterigenics’ Willowbrook, Illinois, plant contributed to her breast cancer diagnosis. She also claims ethylene oxide exposure contributed to her son’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis.
- February 2022: Thirty-five people who lived near or worked at Braun’s medical sterilization plant in Allentown, Pennsylvania, filed lawsuits against the company alleging that EtO emitted from its medical sterilization plant caused them to develop cancer.
- July 2021: Over 20 current and former Augusta, Georgia residents file lawsuits against Kendall Patient Recovery (KPR), alleging the medical equipment sterilization plant released ethylene oxide and caused them a range of health problems including breast cancer and miscarriages.
What Compensation Can You Recover in Ethylene Oxide Lawsuits?
Compensation available in an ethylene oxide lawsuit can vary widely depending on the specific circumstances of the case, the extent of harm or damages suffered by the plaintiff, and the outcome of the lawsuit.
Lawsuits related to EtO exposure typically fall into two main categories:
Personal Injury Lawsuits
Individuals who were exposed to ethylene oxide and suffered health problems as a result may file personal injury lawsuits. Compensation in these cases may include medical expenses (past and future), pain and suffering, lost income, and other damages related to the plaintiff’s injuries. The specific compensation can vary widely depending on the severity of the injuries and their impact on the plaintiff’s life.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
In cases where an individual has died due to ethylene oxide exposure, their surviving family members may file wrongful death lawsuits. Compensation may include funeral and burial expenses, loss of financial support, and compensation for the emotional pain and suffering experienced by the family members. Compensation in wrongful death cases can also vary depending on the circumstances and the extent of the loss suffered by the family.
Talk With a Lawyer from Cory Watson Attorneys About Your Ethylene Oxide Case
We’ve known for decades that exposure to ethylene oxide emissions increases the risk of a range of cancers, from leukemia and lymphoma to breast and stomach cancer. Yet, companies that manufactured or used the colorless gas continued to emit ethylene oxide into the air we breathe without using pollution or poison controls to reduce or eliminate health risks to those who worked at or lived near their plants. As a result, many people developed cancer and other serious health risks.
If ethylene oxide exposure harmed you or a loved one, you may seek compensation for your medical bills and other injuries through an ethylene oxide lawsuit.