The lawsuit was filed by Janice Hunter, a woman from Wood River, Illinois who was diagnosed with lymphoma in January 2008 after being exposed to benzene leaks into the air and spills into the groundwater from facilities where Rust-Oleum and Turtle Wax were manufactured.
As a result of her cancer, Hunter has suffered pain, expensive medical care, and chemotherapy treatment for her lymphoma. She is seeking more than $50,000 in damages and requests a trial by jury.
Lawyers say the defendants failed to research the side effects of benzene exposure for residents living in close proximity to where the cancer-causing chemical was being used. According to the lawsuit:
[Defendants] failed to warn people living near the Wood River facilities of the harmful effects of benzene chemicals and failed to recall and/or cease using benzene.”
Benzene is a dangerous chemical that is widely-used in a wide range of products and manufacturing processes. The problem is that it evaporates very quickly, making it very easy for people to be exposed to benzene by breathing it in the air. Leukemia rates are higher in studies of workers who were exposed to high levels of benzene.
The lawsuit was filed on June 20, 2017 in Madison County Circuit Court against Rust-Oleum Corporation and Turtle Wax Inc., accusing the companies of exposing consumers to the toxic effects of benzene.