Air pollution is definitely a community concern. But the source of air pollution is almost invariably an unregulated or a poorly regulated industry. In that sense, by taking positive steps to protect the men and women who work in our factories and power plants, we can protect our environment and help everyone breathe cleaner air.
Lipsitz & Ponterio has the privilege of representing the families of workers who died as a result of the conditions at Tonawanda Coke. We represent the family of one man who worked at the plant until 1978, when ownership of the facility went from Allied Chemical to J.D. Crane and Tonawanda Coke. This client developed lung cancer in late 2008 and died of the cancer in 2011. His exposure to the emissions from the coke oven battery largely contributed to his disease and death. Occupational lung cancer has a latency period on average between twenty and thirty years.
Another client began working at the plant in the 1960s and continued working there throughout the last decade. He, too, worked on top of the coke oven battery, and he died of lung cancer earlier this year. We are also investigating the death of a long-time employee who started out working for Allied Chemical and continued working at the site for Tonawanda Coke until his death as a result of leukemia in 2001. We believe that his widow had no reason to know at that time that his death was related to his work at the coke plant. Now we know that it is more likely than not that his death was caused by exposure to benzene.