Parish chemical Co. in Vineyard Utah faces a lawsuit filed late last week by the EPA. The suit stems from a 2008 inspection during which federal investigators discovered a staggering collection of toxic waste sitting “unsecured” in hundreds of open vats and containers.
According to the suit, the containers were “failing” and “improperly managed.” In order to “reduce the potential of fire and/or explosion,” EPA workers removed hundreds of the containers from the site.
Appallingly, many of the containers were not labeled as hazardous or had no label, others sported question marks, or labels reading “unknown.”
The lack of care clearly displayed by the company was not because the chemicals were considered benign, the substances discovered at Parish are some of the most flammable, volatile, and health hazardous chemicals currently in use. The list includes methylene chloride, acetone, petroleum ether, benzene, toluene, and perchloric acid.
The following list of additional allegations appeared in yesterday’s Salt Lake Tribune:
- Records for wastes shipped off-site were incomplete.
- Drums had collapsed or were in poor condition.
- Hazardous wastes were stored for years beyond a 90-day limit.
- There was no record of tank inspections or air emissions tests.
- The company did not have liability coverage for accidents.
According to the lawsuit, the cost of the federal response was $640,000. The suit seeks penalties of $32,500 to $37,500 per violation.
This type of reckless behavior puts workers at risk of unnecessary chemical exposure. Obviously Parish Chemical Co. has a very lax attitude about storing dangerous waste which directly indicates a lax attitude towards worker health and longevity.
All of the above listed chemicals are hazardous to human health, especially benzene. Long term exposure to the chemical severely impairs the immune system by disrupting the body’s ability to produce blood cells, this can result in a number of potentially fatal hematological disorders like, aplastic anemia, myelodysplastic syndromes, acute myeloid leukemia and acute lymphocytic leukemia.
Parish will lose this case and pay a relatively small fine, but in situations like this it’s the workers that really lose. At place like Parish an employee who regularly clocks in to do his or her job could be rewarded with a debilitating and potentially fatal illness. Sadly this is not uncommon, even with today’s laws and safeguards workers are often sickened due to the actions of their employers.
If you or a loved one have been wrongfully harmed by benzene at work, it is important to speak with a benzene lawyer without delay. Some states have statues of limitations (time limits) that could block you from compensation. Reputable benzene lawyers charge nothing to discuss your case, and only receive payment if your case is successful.