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Shell Faces More Benzene Leukemia Lawsuits

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Roxana, ILShell Oil faces another lawsuit alleging the company knowingly exposed residents of a small town to benzene side effects without adequately warning residents that their air and water were being contaminated. The plaintiff alleges he developed benzene leukemia, and that Shell knew about the link between benzene and cancer for years but minimized those risks.

According to The Telegraph (07/22/11), Greg Wells was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia in May 2010. Wells, who grew up in Wood River, near a Shell oil plant, alleges benzene from the Shell plant contaminated the air, water and homes in the area, exposing residents to an increased risk of leukemia and other diseases linked to benzene. Shell has reportedly been cited for environmental violations related to the release of benzene into groundwater in the Wood River area.

Shell and BP owned the plant near Wood River, and processed and stored benzene at that plant. Benzene is a known human carcinogen.

Along with Wells, Scott Monroe has filed a lawsuit against Shell, alleging he developed acute myelogenous leukemia after exposure to benzene in Roxana. The estate of Debra Ochs, who died of acute myelogenous leukemia, has also filed a lawsuit against Shell.

Shell has said it will pay for monitoring the area for benzene. Wells' lawsuit alleges he now faces a shorter life expectancy, mental anguish and continued treatment. Also named in the lawsuit is BP Products North America and ConocoPhillips Company.

Wells alleges that BP and Shell were negligent in including benzene in their products and that they failed to properly test the effects of benzene on residents who lived near the plant. According to The Madison County Record (08/02/11), the lawsuit further alleges that the defendants failed to properly clean up toxic chemicals released into the air.

In addition to the personal injury lawsuits filed against Shell, residents of the town of Roxana, Illinois, near the Shell Oil refinery, have filed a class-action lawsuit alleging the refinery caused a decrease in property values. Furthermore, the lawsuit alleges that Shell knew about the health risks linked to benzene and knew that benzene was contaminating local homes since the 1980s but did not take measures to address a 1986 spill of more than 8,000 gallons of benzene.

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