An Illinois jury has entered a $7.5 million verdict against a railroad company for the injuries to a worker exposed to benzene. The worker had been employed by two different railroad companies over 30 years. His job included loading and unloading creosote-soaked railroad ties, which caused him to be covered in wet creosote. Creosote contains benzene, which is a known carcinogen. This worker was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), which later progressed into acute myeloid leukemia (ACL). This occurred in 2008.
The worker filed his lawsuit in 2010 claiming that he developed leukemia (ACL) as a result of his long-term exposure to the benzene and other chemicals while working for the predecessor railroad company.
At trial, it was heard that the predecessor railroad knew of the dangers of benzene exposure as early as the mid-1980s. At that time, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent a memo advising the company that it needed to comply with certain safety regulations, including providing employees with adequate protective equipment such as boots, gloves, respirators and goggles. The worker in this case argued that the railroad company did not comply with these regulations.