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Romanucci & Blandin files case for breast cancer caused by Ethylene Oxide against Huntsman Corporation in Jefferson County, Texas

June 30, 2022

Romanucci & Blandin, LLC, a national personal injury firm primarily based in Chicago, together with Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner announced the filing of a lawsuit on behalf of Port Neches, Texas resident, Candy Gilbert. The lawsuit alleges that since the 1980s, Gilbert was exposed to hundreds of thousands of pounds of the deadly, carcinogenic chemical ethylene oxide (EtO) from the local Huntsman Corporation factory (now owned by Indorama Ventures) just down the road from her Port Neches homes. Like so many others around the country, Candy was exposed to EtO from local companies day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year at dangerous levels. As a result of this chronic, continuous inhalation of EtO, Candy was tragically diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 at the age of just 48.

Records obtained from government agencies demonstrate that the Huntsman Corporation emitted over one million pounds of EtO into the air of the surrounding communities exposing thousands of unsuspecting neighbors to the chemical. Yet, most residents living around companies using the carcinogenic substance, including Candy Gilbert, were entirely unaware of the facility’s use and emission of it. The story is all too familiar.

Attorneys from Romanucci & Blandin, LLC have been investigating EtO for years as they represent more than 325 residents of suburban DuPage County, Illinois and are Lead Counsel in claims against companies (Sterigenics, Griffith Foods, Sotera, and GTCR) for causing hundreds of cancers and miscarriages from their operations in Willowbrook, Illinois.

Approximately four years ago, Willowbrook residents were alerted that, based on air data from the U.S. Government, their census tract had the 19th highest cancer risk in the country among over 75,000 such tracts. Residents were horrified to learn these companies, just like Huntsman Corporation, were almost entirely responsible for those significantly elevated levels and were operating in their backyards without ever notifying them of emitting a substance that has been suspected to mutate and damage DNA since the 1930s and 1940s and known to do so since the 1970s. Beyond its mutagenic qualities, ethylene oxide has been classified as a probable human carcinogen since the early 1980s with many state and international agencies classifying it as a known human carcinogen since the 1990s. Today it is unanimous: EtO causes cancer in humans and has been linked specifically to breast cancer, among others. Such information has been in the hands of companies using ethylene oxide like Huntsman and others for decades.

As the first three of approximately 800 lawsuits are set to begin trial in the coming months for Willowbrook, Illinois residents, more communities are being notified of the dangers of EtO emitted from companies nearby.  Along with Illinois, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Colorado all have lawsuits brought by residents alleging their cancers were caused by EtO emitted from manufacturing and sterilization companies. With the filing of Candys lawsuit today, Texas now joins that list. Candy is seeking damages for both her past damages and harms and also those in the future that she now faces as a breast cancer survivor.

“The filing of this case reflects the gravity of ethylene oxide harm across the country. While the Sterigenics case in Willowbrook, Illinois is significant with hundreds of cases, it is only the tip of the iceberg. Innocent people all across the country have been exposed to this carcinogenic chemical and their lives have been changed forever without their knowledge. We will fight for justice in this case and in every case, including advocacy for permanent health and safety reforms,” said Antonio M. Romanucci, Founding Partner, Romanucci & Blandin, LLC.

“No one ever wants to hear their doctor give them a diagnosis of cancer, which is emotionally traumatizing and physically demanding and damaging. But to further complicate that awful experience by knowing you were exposed to a toxin that causes cancer - day after day, year after year - is quite frankly, overwhelming and infuriating. How anyone or any company could do this to me is inexplicable,” said Candy Gilbert, Plaintiff and Breast Cancer survivor.

 To learn more about legal action involving Ethylene Oxide please visit here.

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