Fear of AML – Medical Monitoring Requested

Benzene, at high doses, is known to cause a human leukemia, Acute myeloid leukemia (AML). At low doses, of the sort currently in litigation, it does not cause AML. In a matter in which we consulted, examined a group of claimants and ultimately testified in trial, our defendant client received a verdict in his favor. The case involved a home well with benzene levels of 15 ppb, allegedly arising from the defendant's underground storage tank.

The EPA clean drinking water standard sets a limit of 5 ppb for benzene. The claimant's expert, a regulatory toxicologist apparently believed and attempted to convince the jury that any benzene levels above 5 ppb was dangerous and contributed to significant health risks; thus, he testified that medical monitoring was required for all of the allegedly exposed claimants. Our task, successfully accomplished, was to explain to the jury the difference between the EPA's public health driven regulatory exposure limits and The United States Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, (ATSDR) toxicological exposure limits based on scientific studies to determine concentrations that are dangerous to an individual's health. This required using clear demonstrative evidence to elucidate the assumptions and the safety factors built into the EPA standards. The jury understood and returned a defense verdict, requiring no medical monitoring.

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