Joseph Marino of Islip Terrace has lost one kidney to cancer and says he can not work for fear of losing the other after exposure to a toxic cleaning solvent while working at the Brookhaven National Laboratory.
Marino, 61, said he had no choice but to use cleaning fluids containing trichlorethylene, a carcinogen known as TCE, when he worked as a computer technician for a subcontractor in the Upton lab in 1999 and 2000. Operators have him never warned of the risks of using the fluids.
TCE is not prohibited, but some manufacturers and customers have stopped using it in recent years, as it is believed to affect human health.
Marino filed a $ 25 million lawsuit against Laboratory Manager Brookhaven Science Associates, former Associated Associates and TCE manufacturers Dow Chemical and Zep Inc. on Friday.
The case was transferred to US District Court Judicial records indicate that Frederic Block in Brooklyn.
In court records, Marino was diagnosed with clear cell renal carcinoma in the right kidney and other illnesses that he thought were caused by his laboratory work.
"You would never believe that you would use a carcinogenic solution that would kill you or harm you," Marino said in an interview, adding that he could not work because of exposure to routine workplace illnesses his illness could worsen. "I want to work, but I literally risk my life."
Brookhaven Science Associates, who manages the 72-year-old laboratory under a contract with its owner, the US Department of Energy, declined to comment. The Energy Department also declined to comment.
Washington, DC, Associated Universities, Midland, Michigan, Dow Chemical, and Atlanta, Zep Inc., did not respond to requests for comment.
The laboratory for the reasons stated The former military training facility at Camp Upton has been dominated for decades by environmental hazards. The issues include a toxic cloud emanating from the 500-hectare campus and a fire-fighting foam that officials fear will contaminate private wells in residential areas.
Other lawsuits such as those filed by Marino or being prepared, Marino and his lawyers in Manhattan, Joseph Lanni and Jaehyun Oh, said. Marino and other former lab workers claim to know about a dozen former workers who believe they are sick from work there.
Ron Yuhas, 77, from Coram, worked in the lab for 42 years and is now suffering from renal cysts and gastrointestinal problems. Yuhas, a former telecommunications manager who has also filed a federal lawsuit against laboratory operators, said he trusted the workers' protection facility.
"There was everything you could ask for in the lab," including local fire and police protection, a gym, and a swimming pool, he said. "They always felt that the lab was taking care of you."
Dan Carroll, 68, of Shirley, said he has bladder cancer, which he owes to his work as a union electrician at the laboratory's relativistic heavy ion collider, which simulates the origins of the universe. He said he never suspected that he might be at risk when working in the lab. Carroll plans to sue laboratories, his lawyers said.
"1979, who knew?" he said. "When you are 28 years old, you believe you are invincible."
Marino said he had previously received $ 50,000 under a previous agreement with former lab technicians. The terms of the settlement make it difficult to use the money for his health care, he said.
Marino said he spends a lot of time fighting government bureaucrats and doctors to convince them that his medical problems are related to his work at the lab.
"It's a tough battle," he said. "It's a fight all the way, it's not making it easy for people."
Facts about trichlorethylene:
Used as a solvent for fats, waxes and tars, as a refrigerant and in products such as paint remover and typewriter correction fluid. Previously used as anesthetic.
Described in federal documents as "non-flammable colorless liquid with a sweet smell similar to ether or chloroform".
Associated with cancers of the kidney, liver, cervix and lymphatic system.
Inhalation may damage the central nervous system or cause problems such as dizziness, headache, drowsiness, nausea, confusion, blurred vision, drowsiness, and weakness of the face.
SOURCE: US Environmental Protection Agency