Toxic chemicals caused cancer and death, according to new lawsuit.
Attorney Thomas Wahlder and Attorney Lawrence Centola have filed a medical lawsuit against the former Dresser facility in Pineville, Louisiana alleging that a chemical spill at the facility caused serious medical problems for local residents, including three cancers, and the Deaths of two of four plaintiffs in the case. An attorney who co-counsel with Alexandria attorney Wahlder, Stephen Hecker, said her lawsuit seeks “various types of cures for pain and ailment, restoration of property, loss of use,” and other state-approved remedies .
The chemical that Dresser contaminated is called trichlorethylene (TCE), a colorless, volatile liquid that is non-flammable and has a sweet odor. TCE has long been considered toxic because exposure to the chemical is potentially very dangerous.
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Don M. Gash, PhD, John T. Sleven, MD, and colleagues from the University of Kentucky at Lexington conducted a 2008 study in which the team tracked a patient with Parkinson’s disease (PD) who was participating in a clinical trial suspects his condition was caused by prolonged exposure to TCE in his workplace. They found that other employees at the same company had also developed PD, and animal studies confirmed the neurotoxicity of TCE. The authors wrote at the time: “TCE combines other mitochondrial neurotoxins, MPTP and some pesticides as a risk factor for Parkinson’s.”
It wasn’t until the end of 2016 that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a rule in accordance with Section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) banning the use of TCE in aerosol degreasers and as a spot cleaner in dry cleaning. Soon thereafter, TCE was banned as a vapor degreaser. The Department of Health and Human Services now regards trichlorethylene as a human carcinogen and warns that exposure to moderate amounts of TCE can cause headaches, dizziness, and drowsiness. Large amounts can cause coma and even death.
It is believed that the spill began by 2012, according to court documents. However, residents were not notified until March 2020. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) issued a press release at the beginning of its testing and remediation process stating that pollution was detected near your property or residence. The press release affirmed that “Your drinking water is from District 3 of the Rapides Parish Water Works and is safe” and that no outdoor air pollution has been detected. At this point in time, the LDEQ indicated that there was no evidence of public exposure.
Dresser made industrial valves and components at its Louisiana facility and used trichlorethylene to degrease metal components. The source of the contamination was identified as a TCE storage tank. In 2011, GE acquired Oil and Gas Dresser and in 2017 the company merged with Baker Hughes. Dresser went through two remediation processes when the litigation originally emerged, including installing wells and running a pilot test to treat the soil by removing gas. The lawsuit also found that Dresser released chemicals into the groundwater in June 2018 to break down the pollutants before telling anyone what happened.
A Dresser Pineville spokesperson said, “Although we are not commenting on active litigation, the Dresser Pineville project team remains committed to resolving the local environmental issue in full coordination with the LDEQ.”
A medical lawsuit has been filed against the former Pineville Dresser facility
Chronic exposure to trichlorethylene increases the risk of Parkinson’s disease
The EPA’s ban on the use of high risk trichlorethylene must cross the finish line