In 2010, BP-one of the largest energy companies in the world-is alleged to have released millions of pounds of benzene into the air over a 40-day period through an improperly-working flare at one of its Texas refineries.
Various individuals alleged to have suffered harm as a result of the toxic exposure and sued the company shortly thereafter. Today, the company is now facing a $1 billion lawsuit filed by over 50,000 people who have suffered harm from the toxic chemical release.
Now, over 2 years after the incident, a court date has been set. In 2013, six of the 50+ plaintiffs, selected from each side of the suit, will have their day in court.
The outcome of the trial will then determine the likelihood of additional trials or settlement for the thousands of remaining plaintiffs.
Dangers of Benzene Exposure
Benzene is a carcinogenic chemical that is present in crude oil and gasoline. It is a common chemical used in various industries, however, exposure can have devastating health consequences for those who have been exposed. It is known to cause multiple types of debilitating diseases, including leukemia, plastic anemia, myelodysplastic syndrome, multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkins' lymphoma.
Source: The Daily News, "BP emissions trial set for 2013," T.J. Aulds, Sept. 8, 2012