Lawsuit Help Desk

Ethylene Oxide Lawsuits and Settlements

Were you exposed to ethylene oxide (EtO) and later diagnosed with breast cancer, lymphoid tumor, Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma, or chronic lymphocytic leukemia?

If yes, you are most likely eligible for an ethylene oxide lawsuit and settlement opportunity. Discuss your claims with our leading ethylene oxide lawsuit lawyers now. 

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What Are Ethylene Oxide Lawsuits?

Ethylene oxide lawsuits in the U.S. are filed against various entities in the country. The claim is based on negligence of defendants that led to the exposure of plaintiffs to their toxic gas emissions thus resulting in cancer and blood disorders. Moreover, the defendants are also alleged to have failed to adequately warn the public about the danger of EtO. This was despite the fact that the EPA has already classified it as a human carcinogen. Consequently, the named companies failed to operate their ethylene-oxide-emitting facilities with sufficient pollution controls. This failure ultimately leads to prolonged exposure of many individuals with elevated levels of ethylene oxide, ranging from several years to over a decade.

Due to their exposure to ethylene oxide emissions, the plaintiffs were either at a heightened risk of developing cancer or had developed cancer. Furthermore, the emissions from the chemical plants caused physical discomfort, disrupted the plaintiffs’ ability to use and enjoy their land, and decreased property values. The lawsuits also claim that the defendants were aware or should have been aware of the health hazards associated with EtO emissions, but did not inform the individuals who lived and worked in the surrounding areas.

Manufacturers use ethylene oxide (EtO) for sterilization of either medical or non-medical products. The use of this gas as a technological method was generally accepted since scientific studies showed that the process prevents the growth of dangerous bacteria without causing product degradation. Evidently, this is rarely achieved with other sterilization methods. Currently, EtO is a technique widely accepted in the U.S. to sterilize medical devices. Moreover, it attracts many sterilizing companies and makers of medical devices. 

Approximately every year, ethylene oxide was applied to sterilize more than 20 billion devices marketed in the United States. This means the EtO is used for around 50% of all devices that need to be sterilized. An example of these medical devices are bandages for wounds as well as stents. Also, EtO is used to sterilize a number of highly specialized medical products as well as kits used in common hospital procedures or surgeries. Patients undergoing numerous medical operations are susceptible to life-threatening infections as a result of inadequate sterilization. Therefore, the use of a technology such as EtO is crucial.

Cancer

The results of a quantitative cancer risk assessment conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 1984 revealed that long-term occupational exposure to ethylene oxide may lead to 12 to 23 excess deaths per 10,000 workers due to cancer, assuming a 45-year working lifetime exposure to 1 ppm.

Respiratory diseases

Inhaling the chemical can lead to various health problems, including acute respiratory distress syndrome, asthma attacks, and neurological damage. The long-term effects of exposure are still unknown, but there is a potential for developing cancer if exposed to large quantities over an extended period of time. Additionally, prolonged contact with the skin can cause severe irritation and rashes. Even small amounts of exposure can cause dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting or loss of consciousness. 

Hematological defects

Ethylene oxide exposure over a long period of time can have negative health effects. A higher incidence of lymphatic and hematological malignancies, troubles with the reproductive system, impacts on the central nervous system, and other disorders are linked to exposure to this gas. Individuals who have been exposed may develop neurological symptoms such headaches, vertigo, exhaustion, and trouble breathing. Eye discomfort, skin rashes, and digestive tract irritation are some of other side effects.

Asthma

In addition, prolonged exposure to ethylene oxide is linked to a higher risk of bronchitis and asthma as well as a greater propensity for allergies. When working with or around ethylene oxide, safety precautions must be taken considering improper handling could be harmful. Wearing protective equipment and implementing the necessary safety procedures are the ideal methods for reducing the danger of exposure.

Miscarriage

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) first began researching the potential risks associated with occupational exposure to ethylene oxide in 1982. Since then, NIOSH has conducted numerous studies on the health effects of workplace exposure to this chemical. In its most recent report, released in 2018, NIOSH concluded that “inhalation of ethylene oxide can cause reproductive and developmental effects, including miscarriages in females and birth defects in males”. 

Those who have been exposed to ethylene oxide should have access to medical surveillance programs that examine both acute and long-term effects of exposure, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Upper respiratory irritation, dermatitis, and other indicators of irritation may be symptoms of acute exposure. The hematological, neurological, and reproductive systems must all be examined, and NIOSH mandates the surveillance and annual updating of reproductive history.

1940s studies

Ethylene oxide (EtO) has been the subject of scientific research since the 1940s. Over the years, scientists have discovered the DNA-damaging properties of this toxic gas and have linked it to various health risks. In 1977, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reported that occupational exposure to EtO could result in an increased frequency of mutations in humans.

1981 studies

In 1981, NIOSH recommended that the gas be considered a potential occupational carcinogen. Subsequently, in 1987, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified EtO as a Group 1 (definite) human carcinogen, and California followed suit. The World Health Organization listed ethylene oxide as a Group 1 human carcinogen in 1994, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services classified it as a “known human carcinogen” in 2000. In 2007, the Scientific Advisory Board labeled EtO as “carcinogenic to humans.” Lastly, in 2016, the EPA discovered that employees working in EtO-manufacturing and sterilizing facilities were at a significantly higher risk of developing cancer of the lymphohematopoietic system and breast cancer.

2020 study

As part of its registration review for Ethylene Oxide, a process that evaluates the performance of registered pesticides every 15 years in relation to their impact on human health and the environment, the EPA released a Draft Risk Assessment in November 2020. The EPA’s findings indicated that long-term inhalation of Ethylene Oxide can pose a cancer risk, specifically cancers of the white blood cells, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, myeloma, and lymphocytic leukemia, as well as potentially causing breast cancer. Children were identified as more susceptible to EtO exposure, with a greater likelihood of developing cancer later in life. 

Additionally, chronic EtO exposure was noted to cause neurological symptoms such as memory loss and impaired hand-eye coordination. However, the EPA stated that exposure to EtO from products made, used, or sterilized with it, as well as from soil or water, does not pose any concern for risks. The primary concern is the presence of EtO in the air, particularly in areas surrounding commercial facilities that use it to sterilize medical equipment and other products.

The number of cases of exposure to ethylene oxide has been rising recently. Lawsuits against manufacturers who use or make this chemical compound are starting to be filed by numerous people and organizations all throughout the United States. 

Sue Kamuda of Willowbrook and her son, who was diagnosed with non-lymphoma, Hodgkin’s were awarded $363 million in damages by a Cook County, Illinois jury in September 2022. Susan Kamuda was diagnosed with breast cancer. The EPA discovered that Kamuda’s census tract, Willowbrook, had a very high cancer risk, which prompted the filing of 760 more claims.

2023 settlements

In January 2023, Sotera Health, Sterigenics’ parent company, agreed to pay $408 million to settle over 870 outstanding lawsuits. Claims continue to be filed against multiple ethylene oxide companies in different areas of the United States, and more verdicts and settlements are expected as these cases proceed.

Two trials were held against Sterigenics and its parent company, Sotera Health, in Illinois, which resulted in opposing jury verdicts. One jury awarded $363 million to a plaintiff who claimed that Sterigenics’ ethylene oxide (EO) emissions caused her breast cancer and that the company failed to reduce its emissions. However, less than two months later, another jury returned a defense verdict in a case where a plaintiff alleged that Sterigenics’ EO emissions caused her acute T-cell lymphoblastic leukemia. These verdicts demonstrate the risks inherent in EO litigation and the potential gains for plaintiffs’ attorneys.

Following these trials, Sterigenics and Sotera Health agreed to a settlement of $408 million to resolve over 870 EO-related claims filed against them in the Circuit Court of Cook County and the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The settlement is pending court approval and requires most plaintiffs to dismiss their claims with prejudice and opt into the settlement. With an average of over $450,000 per plaintiff, this settlement is likely to encourage future claimants to file lawsuits.

Do I qualify for an Ethylene Oxide lawsuit?

If you or a loved has experienced these conditions from Ethylene Oxide, our leading lawyers would consider taking your case if you meet these criteria:

  • Breast cancer (unless BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic variety, if known)
  • Lymphoid tumor
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Multiple myeloma 
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
woman recovering in hospital who's filed an Ethylene Oxide lawsuit
weighing the benefits of Ethylene Oxide lawsuit

How much will it cost to file my lawsuit?

Our good news for you is that you do not have to pay any upfront amount.

This is because if you qualify, the legal representation will be entirely contingent fee. That means that all legal costs and expenses come out of the settlement or award you receive. 

So, talk to our top mass torts lawyers now! Be represented by leaders in this field of mass torts, not simply personal injury lawyers or those who pay marketing firms for referrals. 

How much is the ethylene oxide lawsuit payout?

Settlement or trial amounts will ultimate depend on the injury suffered. Nonetheless, our Etylene Oxide lawyers provide certain estimates based on the following updates.

Interestingly, on 19 September 2022, a Chicago jury awarded US$363 million (including US$325 million in punitive damages) to one plaintiff who asserted that Sterigenics’s EO emissions caused her to develop breast cancer. The jury agreed that theSterigenics’s failure to implement measures to reduce its ethylene oxide emissions contributed to such condition.

celebrating an Ethylene Oxide Lawsuit settlement
lawyer counseling about Ethylene Oxide lawsuit

Will I have obligation to Lawsuit Help Desk if I qualify?

You have no obligations to Lawsuit Help Desk if we determined that you qualify.

Also, if you wish to proceed with the mass torts firms we have provided for you, it will be their leading Ethylene Oxide lawsuit lawyers who will discuss the retention agreement with you.

So, contact us now!

How long do I have to file my Ethylene Oxide lawsuit?

Act without delay for the sake of yourself and your family, even if it’s not with us. Why? 

Generally, your settlement opportunity can be hampered by the statute of limitations which can be made worse by lagging scientific progress. Furthermore, you risk missing crucial settlement possibilities if you file late. It is crucial to obtain legal counsel as soon as you can because of this. In fact, one of our attorneys’ first tasks for you will be to research the repose and limitations laws of your state.

Sadly, specific types of injuries (SOR) are subject to each state’s statutes of limitations (SOL) and statutes of repose. These laws, which vary from state to state, establish deadlines by which lawsuits must be brought or enforced. After these deadlines have passed, bringing a case will result in its rejection and preclude you from being entitled to anything.

Yes. This is why you need to talk to an Ethylene Oxide lawsuit lawyer as soon as possible.

It could take years for scientific research to show a connection between the cause – here, ethylene oxide – and the patient’s symptoms. 

Discuss these matters now with our leading mass torts lawyer and be informed.

Unfortunately, you could miss settlement opportunities if you file your ethylene oxide lawsuit late.

Defendants usually settle cases with a number of defendants at a time. In order to be eligible to recover as a victim, your attorney must have already filed your lawsuit by then.

Here at Lawsuit Help Desk, we make sure that we only recommend lawyers who are experts in the field and who observe due diligence to ensure you do not miss any settlement opportunity.

lawyers sprinting to file an Ethylene Oxide lawsuit
client contacts lawyer about Ethylene Oxide lawsuit

How do I file and settle my Ethylene Oxide lawsuit?

Simply reach out to us for a quick assessment of your case. Do it as soon as possible. Get peace of mind. 

Also, start saving and collecting every document our lawyers may need as evidence for your lawsuit. That includes any proof or document the showed your exposure to EtO such as a medical certificate. Our lawyers will tell you much more when you call us. 

Lawsuit Help Desk: The Smart Choice

We don’t waste your time. We are not middlemen between you and the attorneys. Instead, we provide you simple and stress-free access to top 1% nationally renowned mass torts attorneys, with deep knowledge in Ethylene Oxide litigation. It is these leading lawyers who will decide your case with diligence and honesty.

Our mission is to provide easy and convenient access to the leading lawyers in mass torts for anyone in need.

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Say goodbye to spammy emails from legal assistance websites. We only send you an email to inform you of case status and other relevant updates.

A key distinction is that we have active attorneys and litigators on our staff. Do you really want advice about a mass tort that’s devastated your loved one’s lives — where settlements in the hundreds of thousands and millions are common — from a marketing or social media expert, a lifestyle coach, a psychologist or an influencer? In other words, we are not parroting talking points: We really know what we’re talking about. 

In fact, Cameron Tousi, founder of Lawsuit Help Desk, has decades of legal expertise that has earned him the highest distinctions in peer reviews and awards from America’s leading legal publications. You can call us now and ask to speak with Cameron!

Monthly Status Updates: Ethylene Oxide Lawsuits

$408 million settlement

Sotera Health, the parent company of Sterigenics, announced its agreement to settle over 870 ethylene oxide lawsuits in Illinois. Basically, the settlement requires Sterigenics to pay $408 million to settle claims filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County and U.S. District Court in northern Illinois. Following the announcement of the settlement, Sotera Health’s stock value more than doubled today, with SHC shares surging 104% to $17.60 apiece on the Nasdaq.

$363 million settlement

Interestingly, this settlement comes approximately four months after a Cook County jury awarded $363 million in a lawsuit that blamed Sterigenics for causing a woman’s breast cancer and her son’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma due to its EtO emissions from its now-closed Willowbrook facility. This verdict in September 2022 shook the medtech space, which relies on EtO as a major sterilization method for manufactured medical devices. Analysts even raised concerns that ethylene oxide liabilities might affect the financial results of Sterigenics’ competitors such as Steris.

In September 2022, a Cook County (Illinois) jury awarded $363 million to a plaintiff in the Kamuda case, the first ethylene oxide personal injury trial to reach a verdict. The plaintiff claimed that she developed breast cancer due to ethylene oxide emissions from the Sterigenics Willowbrook plant.

A second trial involving the same defendant and court, but with a different cancer type, followed, known as the Fornek case. This trial resulted in a defense verdict.

A third trial, the Schumacher case, with Sterigenics as the defendant, was scheduled to start trial this week. However, it did not take place due to reasons explained below.

On September 19, 2022, a Chicago jury awarded US$363 million (including US$325 million in punitive damages) to a single plaintiff who claimed that Sterigenics’s EO emissions caused her to develop breast cancer and that Sterigenics failed to take action to minimize its emissions. However, less than two months later, a second Chicago jury rendered a defense judgement against a plaintiff who claimed that Sterigenics’ EO emissions from the same facility caused her acute T-cell lymphoblastic leukemia. These divergent outcomes illustrate the risks associated with EO litigation, a nascent and expanding tort, as well as the benefits for plaintiffs’ counsel that are fueling the surge in litigation.

Following these trials, Sterigenics and Sotera Health announced a US$408 million settlement to address over 870 EO-related claims filed against them.

Because Sterigenics finally decided it would not be practicable to reopen the plant given the unknown legislative and regulatory requirements, the state of Illinois issued a sealing order in February 2019 that effectively shut down the Willowbrook factory. Hundreds of personal injury lawsuits were launched against the corporation in the interim because ethylene oxide emissions had led to the development of various cancers in neighboring individuals.

News & Articles

The Shocking Truth: How a Silent Killer in Our Midst, Ethylene Oxide, is Ravaging Your Health and The Environment

The Shocking Truth: How a Silent Killer in Our Midst, Ethylene Oxide, is Ravaging Your Health and The Environment

Imagine an unseen predator silently lurking in your neighborhood, slowly eroding your health and the ecological balance of your environment. This isn't a plot from a dystopian novel but a scientifically validated reality, with the villain being none other than Ethylene Oxide (EtO), a colorless, odorless gas that plays a critical role in our daily lives, yet allegedly carries a malicious sting.

While EtO is deeply embedded in our industrial framework – being a key player in the manufacturing of diverse goods like medical devices, antifreeze, textiles, and plastics – it's the alleged sinister side of this ubiquitous compound that is cause for alarm. Recognized as a human carcinogen by health luminaries like the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP), EtO can reportedly infiltrate our lives in several subtle yet significant ways:

  • Industrial emissions: Factories may release EtO into the air, potentially endangering workers and surrounding communities.
  • Medical equipment sterilization: EtO's widespread use in sterilizing medical tools can allegedly expose patients and healthcare staff.
  • Consumer products: Traces of EtO could lurk in common items like cosmetics, toiletries, and textiles.
  • Vehicle exhaust and tobacco smoke: The gas can be found in vehicle emissions and tobacco fumes.

The potential health impact of this omnipresent gas is of serious concern. Acute exposure can reportedly lead to respiratory irritation, nausea, neurologic dysfunction, and more. Chronic exposure, however, is allegedly linked to a host of cancers, including breast cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and multiple myeloma, along with reproductive issues like miscarriages and birth defects. The question that arises is, could living near EtO-emitting factories or using EtO-sterilized medical devices unknowingly elevate our risk of cancer?

The environmental implications of EtO can't be brushed aside either. Its release into the atmosphere contributes to harmful smog and ozone layers, while in water and soil, even short-term presence can reportedly be toxic to aquatic and terrestrial life. The manufacturing, usage, and disposal of EtO and its products are also linked to resource depletion, hazardous waste generation, and ecosystem contamination.

So, how do we arm ourselves against this silent assailant? Here are some steps that could make a difference:

  • Education: Knowledge is power. Understand the risks associated with EtO and spread the word.
  • Monitor Exposure: Be aware of potential EtO sources around you and ensure safety regulations are followed in workplaces.
  • Advocate for Change: Push for stricter EtO usage regulations. Encourage representatives to prioritize this issue.
  • Support Legal Action: If affected by EtO, consider legal recourse.

This alleged looming threat of Ethylene Oxide is a wake-up call for us all. It’s a complex puzzle where environmental health, industrial convenience, public safety, and legal course intersect. It's not just about survival, it's about coexistence – ensuring a safer, healthier future for generations to come.

Read more here

Unmasking the Ethylene Oxide Lawsuit: What Big Manufacturing Doesn't Want You to Know

Unmasking the Ethylene Oxide Lawsuit: What Big Manufacturing Doesn't Want You to Know

In a landscape where corporate interests often overshadow public health, the Ethylene Oxide lawsuit stands as a stark reminder of resilience in the face of adversity. This article, titled "Unmasking the Ethylene Oxide Lawsuit: What Big Manufacturing Doesn't Want You to Know," takes an in-depth dive into the ongoing litigation, peeling back layers of legal jargon to expose the raw reality.

1: The Battlefield: An Overview of the Ethylene Oxide Lawsuit Status

The legal landscape surrounding Ethylene Oxide – a crucial ingredient used in sterilizing medical equipment and producing other chemicals – is fraught with tension and uncertainty. As of today, Ethylene Oxide lawsuits reportedly continue to clutter the dockets of both state and federal courts. But what exactly is triggering such a flurry of litigations?

Allegedly, prolonged exposure to Ethylene Oxide may have severe health implications, including an increased risk of certain types of cancer. These reported health risks have become the center of numerous lawsuits filed by individuals who believe they’ve experienced adverse effects as a result of such exposure. Yet, the status of these lawsuits remains fluid, evolving with every passing day, every new plaintiff, and every court ruling.

2: Cast of Combatants: Plaintiffs, Manufacturers, and the Multidistrict Litigations

The Ethylene Oxide lawsuits draw a complex tapestry of stakeholders, each with their unique interests and challenges. At one end of the spectrum, you have the plaintiffs – reported to be in the hundreds – who claim to have been adversely affected by the chemical. These individuals range from factory workers who've allegedly been exposed to Ethylene Oxide in their workplaces, to residents living near plants where the substance is used or produced.

Battling these accusations are the manufacturers of Ethylene Oxide, including global giants like Sterigenics, a Sotera Health company, and others. These corporations are facing allegations that they knowingly exposed workers and surrounding communities to potentially harmful levels of Ethylene Oxide.

Adding another layer of complexity are the Multidistrict Litigations (MDLs) – legal proceedings that consolidate individual lawsuits with similar claims. The Ethylene Oxide MDL aims to streamline proceedings and manage the growing volume of lawsuits more efficiently. It is yet to be seen how these MDLs will shape the legal trajectory of the Ethylene Oxide lawsuits.

3: Courts in Session: State Court Filings and Identifying the Legal Arenas

From a legal perspective, the Ethylene Oxide lawsuits have unfolded on multiple fronts. A significant number of cases are reportedly being processed in state courts, where the laws governing personal injury and toxic torts can vary considerably. This diversity in state laws adds an extra layer of intricacy to the already complex legal proceedings.

Meanwhile, federal courts are also playing a crucial role in the Ethylene Oxide litigation. A number of lawsuits have been consolidated under the MDL umbrella in federal court, aiming to expedite proceedings and avoid duplicate discovery efforts. However, the exact trajectory of these lawsuits remains to be seen.

4: Guiding the Gavel: The Judges Behind the Rulings

The fate of these lawsuits lies in the hands of the judges who preside over them. These legal champions often have the daunting task of navigating the labyrinth of scientific evidence, legal arguments, and emotional testimonies. Their rulings on key issues can significantly steer the course of the litigation and potentially influence the outcome of individual cases.

Judges in the Ethylene Oxide cases reportedly have to grapple with complex questions: Did the manufacturers know about the potential risks associated with Ethylene Oxide? If so, did they take adequate measures to protect workers and communities? Answering these questions requires careful assessment of scientific evidence, expert testimonies, and corporate documents – a challenging responsibility that falls onto the judges overseeing these cases.

5: Landmark Decisions: Key Rulings and Bellwether Cases

Among the sea of lawsuits, certain key rulings and bellwether cases stand out, setting precedents that may impact future suits. Bellwether cases are representative lawsuits selected for trial in an MDL. Their outcomes can provide insights into how future cases might be resolved.

In the Ethylene Oxide litigation, several bellwether cases have reportedly reached verdicts, providing some degree of clarity amidst the confusion. These verdicts can influence settlement negotiations in the remaining lawsuits, shaping the ultimate resolution of the Ethylene Oxide litigation.

However, given the ever-evolving nature of the legal landscape and the unique circumstances of each plaintiff, the final outcome of the Ethylene Oxide lawsuits remains to be seen. As more information surfaces and as court rulings continue to come in, the picture will gradually become clearer – offering insights into the consequences of alleged corporate negligence and the resilience of those who seek justice.

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