Medical device manufacturer B. Braun may be liable for residents’ cancer diagnoses and other harms for knowingly operating a plant in Lehigh County, PA that leaked unsafe amounts of the toxic chemical Ethylene Oxide.
Recent reports from many Lehigh County, Pennsylvania residents who live or work near the B. Braun manufacturing plant at 901 Marcon Boulevard in Allentown, Pennsylvania, suggest that the company’s manufacturing facility exposed individuals to dangerous levels of ethylene oxide. Ethylene oxide is an odorless gas that, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), causes damage to human DNA, which can lead to several types of cancer. In fact, EPA studies show that those who are exposed to dangerous levels of ethylene oxide are up to 200 times more likely to be diagnosed with cancer.
If you were diagnosed with cancer after living or working near the B. Braun manufacturing plant in Allentown, PA, the personal injury lawyers at Console & Associates, P.C. can help. Our toxic tort attorneys are actively investigating claims on behalf of workers and residents who developed cancer or other life-changing diagnoses that may have been caused by high levels of exposure to ethylene oxide that were emitted from the B. Braun manufacturing plant.
For a free, confidential consultation, call (866) 778-5500 today.
Ethylene oxide (“EtO”) is a colorless, odorless gas that is frequently used in manufacturing applications. For decades, the EPA permitted manufacturers like B. Braun to use ethylene oxide up to certain levels. However, after reports surfaced that those who were exposed to high levels of EtO began developing various forms of cancer, the EPA revised its ethylene oxide guidelines in 2016. Based on the EPA’s 2016 guidelines, EtO is 60 times more toxic to children and 30 times more toxic to adults than the previous estimate.
Based on the current understanding of the health effects of ethylene oxide, experts believe that those who are exposed to high levels of the dangerous chemical are more likely to develop certain types of cancer that affect the white blood cells, including:
Evidence also suggests that exposure to ethylene oxide results in women having a higher chance of developing breast cancer. The EPA also notes that children are at a greater risk of developing cancer due to EtO exposure.
As a gas, ethylene oxide is transmitted through the air, often by facilities that use the dangerous chemical in the manufacturing process. According to the EPA, “[p]people who live near facilities that release EtO to the outdoor air may be exposed to EtO, depending on how much EtO is released and how close they live to the facility.”
The EPA also notes that those who are exposed to dangerous levels of ethylene oxide may show the following symptoms well before any cancer diagnosis:
B. Braun is a company based in Melsungen, Germany, that manufactures and sells medical, pharmaceutical and healthcare products and devices, including those related to infusion therapy, nutrition therapy, anesthesia, pain management, renal therapy, and wound management. The company employs approximately 63,000 employees globally at offices and manufacturing facilities in over 60 countries, including in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Each year, B. Braun brings in about $8 billion in annual revenue.
Whether B. Braun’s Allentown facility leaked dangerous levels of ethylene oxide into the surrounding community is the big question. B. Braun admits to using EtO as a sterilizing agent for certain medical devices it manufactures at the company’s Allentown, PA facility. In fact, B. Braun justifies its use of EtO in a website it created specifically to refute potential EtO cancer lawsuits, noting that “sterilization with ethylene oxide is the only method that effectively sterilizes and does not damage the device during the sterilization process.”
So, it is known that B. Braun uses EtO and is aware of the dangers the chemical raises. Further, it is not a logical leap to assume that some of the chemicals used in the manufacturing process will leak into the air. However, not surprisingly, B. Braun denies that it has leaked dangerous levels of the chemical, citing recent modifications it made to its facility.
On the other hand, many residents who live and work in Lehigh County, PA, are being diagnosed with rare forms of cancer that do not appear to have any other explanation.
Whether B. Braun can be held liable for cancer diagnoses among those in Lehigh County, PA who lived or worked near the facility is another open question and one that Console & Associates, P.C. is currently looking into. In general, companies that allow toxic chemicals such as ethylene oxide to leak into their communities can be held financially liable for the harms residents experience through a mass tort lawsuit. However, these claims are very complex because they require a certain level of proof, not only that the company was responsible for leaking the dangerous chemical but also that the chemical was the cause of residents’ harm.
If you lived near or worked at the B. Braun manufacturing facility in Allentown, PA and doctors recently diagnosed you with cancer, your cancer may have been caused by dangerous levels of ethylene oxide that were emitted from the B. Braun plant. At Console & Associates, P.C., we understand the grief and frustration that follow in the wake of an unexplained cancer diagnosis and want to help you get to the bottom of what caused your cancer. We are actively investigating EtO cancer claims on behalf of individuals in your situation.
We offer free consultations to all prospective clients, during which we will answer your questions, discuss the recovery process, and explain how we can help. If you decide to pursue a claim, we will not bill you for our services unless we can connect you with financial compensation for everything you’ve been through. If you are interested in learning more about bringing a cancer lawsuit against B. Braun, reach out to Console & Associates, P.C. at (866)778-5500. You can also connect with us through our online contct form.