According to the Indianapolis Star, the Indianapolis based chemical plant Vertellus, formerly Reily Tar & Chemical Co., has agreed to pay a 425,000 in fines and to a two year $705,000 repair plan aimed at leak prevention and emissions monitoring.
Failure to comply with [chemical] leak detection and repair requirements under federal emissions standards for hazardous air pollutants was the rap.
The company arrogantly professed:
"[Vertellus] is confident that these emissions did not have any effect on it’s employees or neighbors."
"Vertillus is confident that you people can’t prove anything and cannot afford to oppose us. Don’t mess with us…
Benzene has a long history of association with illness. Even when first manufactured in the early 1800’s, benzene was suspected of harming human health. In 1928 the first study came out validating long held fears that benzene increases the risk of leukemia. In 1948 the American Petroleum Institute published a toxicological review of benzene stating that benzene caused leukemia, and that there was no safe exposure level.
Since then many studies have firmly established that benzene exposure can lead to acute myelogenous leukemia, acute lymphocytic leukemia, aplastic anemia, myelodysplastic syndromes and more.
A recent study on Chinese workers found that airborne benzene levels of just 1ppm, (allowable levels according to OSHA and NIOSH standards,) caused a notable reduction in blood cell production. This shed light on the possibility that long term exposure to even minute levels of the chemical could lead to the bone marrow failure disorders mentioned in the above paragraph.
Over a hundred years of evidence links benzene to sickness and death. Thishas lead to reductions in it’s use, and stricter regulation by OSHA and NIOSH limiting work place exposure. Both agencies still allow some airborne benzene to be present in work environments.
If you or a loved one have been harmed by benzene, a benzene lawyer is your best bet. Benzene lawyers know how to handle powerful corporations and make them pay for carelessly harming workers, and those who live in close proximity to industry.