$725 Million Verdict: Jury Blames Exxon for Mechanic's Leukemia, Linking Benzene Exposure to Cancer

exxonmobile benzene cancer verdict

A Jury Awards A Mechanic Millions After Exposure To Benzene In Gas Station Products Caused His Leukemia.

A Pennsylvania jury has hit ExxonMobil with a $725.5 million verdict after a former mechanic claimed exposure to benzene in the company's products caused his leukemia. This hefty payout adds to the growing chorus of lawsuits highlighting the dangers of benzene exposure and the potential failure of corporations to warn consumers about its health risks.

Mechanic awarded millions after benzene exposure

Paul Gill, a 67-year-old former mechanic, alleged he developed acute myeloid leukemia (AML) due to repeated contact with benzene while working at a gas station between 1975 and 1980. The jury agreed, finding ExxonMobil liable for failing to adequately warn about the carcinogenic properties of benzene, a common component of gasoline and other petroleum products.

"This verdict is important because it's a finding that their gasoline causes cancer," stated Gill's attorney, Patrick Wigle. "ExxonMobil has known for decades that benzene causes cancer, yet they resisted warning the public and taking basic precautions."

Exxon has vehemently denied the verdict's validity, calling it "irrational" and vowing to appeal. The company maintains its products are safe when used as intended.

Benzene: A known carcinogen lurking in everyday products

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies benzene as a known human carcinogen. Long-term exposure has been linked to various blood cancers, including AML, the type Gill developed. While benzene is primarily found in industrial settings, it can also be present in:

  • Gasoline
  • Car exhaust
  • Certain plastics
  • Coal and oil burning emissions
  • Some beauty products (sunscreen, acne wash)

Two other recent lawsuits against L'Oreal concerning benzene contamination in their CeraVe acne face wash products, and Johnson & Johnson over their Neutrogena T/Gel dandruff shampoo products exemplifies the potential presence of this carcinogen in unexpected places.

The Gill verdict and the CeraVe and Neutrogena lawsuits raise a crucial concern: are manufacturers adequately informing consumers about the potential health risks associated with their products?

Valisure, an independent lab specializing in product safety, identified concerning levels of benzene in several BPO-based acne products, including CeraVe. Their findings highlight the need for stricter regulations and greater transparency from manufacturers regarding potentially harmful ingredients.

How to protect yourself from benzene exposure

While complete avoidance may be difficult, here are some steps you can take to minimize your exposure to benzene:

  • Limit time spent at gas stations
  • Improve ventilation in garages and workshops
  • Use low-VOC paints and cleaning products
  • Be mindful of product labels and choose benzene-free alternatives when possible
  • Stay informed about product recalls

The ExxonMobil benzene lawsuit is Paul Gill and Diane Gill v. ExxonMobil, Case No. 200501803, in the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania.



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