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Higher Leukemia Risks for Golden Triangle Petrochemical and Refinery Workers

Published on January 25th, 2022 by Andrew Hughes

Petrochemical and refinery workers in Southeast Texas’ Golden Triangle are at an increased risk of developing leukemia as a result of exposure to benzene. Chevron Phillips Chemical Port Arthur, ExxonMobil Beaumont, BASF TOTAL FINA NAFTA, and Motive Chemicals are 4 of the top 10 benzene emitters in Texas. The carcinogenic effects of benzene have been known to the industry since 1948.

Benzene exposure can cause acute myeloid leukemia (AML), non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). Studies show that it is also linked to multiple myeloma (MM), and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Whether you were a plant employee or an outside contractor, on-site benzene exposures can lead to a leukemia diagnosis many years later.

Factors Affecting a Leukemia Case Against a Refinery

Each leukemia case against a refinery is unique. Regardless of the type of claim, it is important that you act soon after the diagnosis. Here are some factors that can affect your benzene refinery claim.

  • Who is Eligible to Sue?: Outside contractors can file negligence claims against the plant owner. Facility employees are usually required to file worker’s compensation claims. Both contractors and employees who regularly used benzene-containing products can file lawsuits against the manufacturers of those products.
  • Statute of Limitations*: In personal injury cases, the date of your diagnosis starts the clock on your window to file a lawsuit. The length of the window varies by state. Generally, Texas requires a plaintiff to file their personal injury case within two years of the date they are diagnosed.
  • Latency: Latency refers to the time between exposure to benzene and development of cancer. Benzene-related cancers can take many years from the exposure to develop.
  • Proof of a Link Between Your Exposure and Your Cancer: Plaintiffs are only successful when they connect their benzene exposure to their cancer. An individual with chronic exposures to benzene over many years will have a stronger claim than individuals who only spent one week at a plant. Medical, epidemiological, and industrial hygiene experts are needed to connect a plaintiff’s exposures to their cancer.
  • Product Identification for Third-Party Claims: You must be able to identify the benzene-containing products that you used to sue third-party defendants in a personal injury case.
  • Comorbidities: Personal experiences inherited traits, and lifestyles will play a role. The chance of developing benzene-related cancer increases with age. Life-long heavy smokers will have a harder time bringing a claim. Prior chemotherapy or radiation treatments can also make it more difficult to file a lawsuit.

See If You Have a Claim

Petrochemical and refinery leukemia cases are complex undertakings. The attorneys at Hughes Law Offices have been facing off against these companies for years. Answers to common questions can be found here. If you or a loved one has worked at a chemical plant or refinery and has been diagnosed with leukemia, call 1-800-BENZENE and speak to a lawyer today.

*Statute of limitations duration is subject to change.  This information is current as of 2022.

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