Monday, November 26, 2012

N.J. mortician says embalming fluid gave him cancer; sues employer, manufacturers

A mortician in New Jersey has filed a lawsuit against his employer and a number of manufacturers of the chemicals he used in embalming.

William Moore, 38, was diagnosed two years ago with acute promyelocytic leukemia. In the suit, Moore says manufacturers of the embalming fluid either knew or should have known their products raised the cancer risk for those with higher levels of formaldehyde exposure. Formaldehyde was officially listed as a known human carcinogen in 2011 after the release of  The Report on Carcinogens, a congressionally mandated document.

Funeral workers in particular are at risk of high formaldehyde exposure as it is commonly used in mortuaries. Exposure occurs primarily by inhaling formaldehyde gas or vapor from the air or by absorbing liquids containing formaldehyde through the skin. Formaldehyde is also used in building materials and to produce many household products.

The suit alleges Moore’s employer failed to provide him with "accommodations" such as improving the ventilation or transferring him to a newer facility in the company.


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