November 19, 2014 — Reuters reports that Texas trial lawyers have filed wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of people who died in a toxic chemical leak at a DuPont facility in La Porte, Texas.
The leak involved methyl mercaptan, which is a chemical that is added to give odorless natural gas its rotten-egg smell. It is also used to make insecticides and plastics. It causes eye and skin irritation, and when inhaled, rapidly damages the respiratory system.
One person was injured and four people died in the incident, including Crystal Wise, Wade Baker, and brothers Robert and Gilbert Tisnado. Lawsuits have been filed by Wise’s daughter and the widow of Gilbert Tisnado, according to NBC News. Their attorneys have imposed a restraining order to protect evidence at the scene.
No one knows exactly what happened, but it is possible that a leaky valve was involved. It is not clear if the victims were wearing protective equipment while working inside an enclosed structure. The Tisnado family says Robert ran into the plant when the leak happened. When Robert didn’t return, Gilbert ran in after him and put his face mask on Robert.
A former DuPont employee, Barbara Acker, recently told Fox News that she documented hundreds of chemicals that were improperly labeled, hazardous chemicals leaking out of containers, and acids that were not properly disposed.
According to Reuters the plant has received citations for environmental violations by the Environmental Protection Agency. Since 2009, more than two dozen citations have ben issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality — including at least four involving toxic chemical emissions into the air.
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