Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chemical exposure lawsuits: Difficult to prove link between chemicals and cancer

Certain chemicals have been linked to cancer.
While for many people there seems to be a clear connection between chemical exposure at work and the development of cancer, proving a link between a specific type of cancer and chemicals in court may be difficult, recent lawsuits show.

In the case of Joseph Snizavich,a long-time pipe-fitter who died of brain cancer, a judge wouldn’t allow a primary witness report to be part of the trial.

The witness was an expert in occupational medicine who could have given some credibility to the family’s claim that Snizavich’s chemical exposure at a research facility had something to do with the cancer.

It would have been the first trial in connection with an alleged cluster of brain cancer among employees at the site, a Philadelphia Inquirer news report said.

Expert opinions can only be part of a trial if they are delivered with a reasonable degree of scientific certainty, and the judge didn’t feel this was the case here.

Chemical exposure background

The research facility conducted two internal studies that established no cause for cancer, but some officials criticized them as flawed.

A University of Minnesota research team found in 2010 that up to 14 employees at the facility had died of brain cancer after working there.

The research facility was opened in 1963 and changed owners a few times.

However, the researchers could not pinpoint any specific chemicals as possible causes, since thousands of chemicals were used at the site.

Officials had concerns about the indoor air quality at the research facility for certain periods of time, since some chemical vapors expelled by air handling equipment were being sucked back in.

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer

Protect workers from airborne chemicals and vapors

In any working environment where chemicals are involved, there is a chance of exposure for employees.
Electrocorp's RAP series: One of
many series of powerful air cleaners.

While the levels may not be of a concern initially, it’s the cumulative effects of chemical exposure that has many experts worried.

Electrocorp has designed powerful air cleaners for industrial and commercial applications that can remove airborne chemicals, gases and fumes as well as other pollutants such as particles, dust, bacteria, viruses and mold.

The air cleaners feature deep-bed granular activated carbon filters for gaseous pollutants as well as HEPA filters, optional UV germicidal filtration and various pre-filters to prolong the main filters’ lifespan.

The air cleaners can be portable, attached to the HVAC system or mounted to the ceilings or walls, depending on the facility and requirements.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and options. See also Electrocorp's air cleaners for chemical processing plants.

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