The lawsuit was filed by Michael Butts, a maintenance and repair mechanic with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) who was exposed to benzene in gasoline, oil, solvents, adhesives, and degreasers.
The trial began on April 28 in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas and lasted three weeks. A confidential settlement was reached “after the close of evidence, but prior to submission to the jury,” according to a docket entry on May 18.
Benzene is a sweet-smelling toxic chemical that evaporates quickly into the air. Over time, breathing benzene increases the risk of cancer, particularly AML. Benzene exposure is also associated with other types of leukemia and lymphoma.
The plaintiff was employed as a mechanic at Wigstens Dairy Farm, Vans Lawn Mower Shop, Lockwood Automotive, Gerald Sargent Excavation, Stortini Plumbing and Heating, and others from 1965 through 2014.
He was also exposed to benzene in gasoline and oil. Defendants include oil companies like ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron, and Sunoco.
The other defendants are manufacturers of benzene-containing products like Permatex Anti-Seize, Gumout Carb & Choke, Liquid Wrench, CRC Brakleen, Blaster Air Tool Conditioner, P’Blaster, Loctite Spray-a-Gasket, Wynn’s Brake Cleaner, Chemtool B-12, Safety-Kleen parts-washing solvents, Johnsen’s Brake Parts Cleaner, and Turtle Wax.
Lawyers say the products lacked warnings and instructions of the dangers to human health, “including the risk for contracting cancer, leukemia and other blood and bone marrow disease.”
The lawsuit was filed in January 2015 in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas — In RE: Butts, et al. v. United States Steel Corp., et al., — Case No. 150103561.