As a result of occupational exposures to industrial solvents, many railroad workers are at an elevated risk of cancer, neurological disorders, and other long-term illnesses.

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    Which Railroad Solvents are Dangerous?

    Just about every industrial solvent is somewhat hazardous. However, some types of solvents are more dangerous than others. Many petroleum solvents and chlorinated solvents are particularly dangerous. The railroads have relied upon both types.

    Can Solvent Exposure Cause Cancer?

    Yes. Exposure to certain industrial solvents can cause cancer. If you or a loved one has been exposed to industrial solvents and have been diagnosed with one of the following illnesses you may be eligible for compensation.

    Can Solvent Exposure Cause Neurological Disorders?

    Yes. Exposure to certain chlorinated solvents can cause permanent brain damage and may lead to neurological disorders. If you or a loved one has been exposed to industrial solvents and have been diagnosed with one of the following you may be eligible for compensation.


    Can Solvent Exposure Cause Cancer?

    Yes. Exposure to certain industrial solvents can cause cancer. If you or a loved one has been exposed to industrial solvents and have been diagnosed with one of the following illnesses you may be eligible for compensation.

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    Which Railroad Workers Have Endured Dangerous Solvent Exposures?

    Shop workers and car department employees have historically suffered some of the worst exposures. Crafts such as locomotive machinists used vast quantities of solvents to cut through the grime and grease that accumulated on railroad locomotives and equipment. The railroad employees who were made to use these potent chemicals often worked in poorly ventilated environments without even the most basic protective equipment. To make matters worse, the railroads assured their workers that any effects from the solvents – like dizziness or tingling hands – were temporary, and that the solvents were harmless. As a result, railroad workers did not try to limit their exposures. Many shop workers actually used these solvents to wash their hands and work clothes.


    When did the Railroads Know Solvent Exposure was Harming Workers?

    Internal railroad documents produced during litigation have revealed that the railroads were aware as early as the 1950s that solvents could harm workers and that respirators and gloves should be used when working with solvents.

    Are Railroad Workers Still at Risk for Dangerous Solvent Exposure Today?

    Chlorinated solvents have been largely phased out of use, but petroleum solvents are still widely used throughout the industry. Today, the benzene content in most petroleum solvents has been greatly reduced. However, there is no safe level of benzene exposure. Chronic exposure to trace quantities of benzene may amount to dangerous levels over time.

    What can I do if I was Exposed to Industrial Solvents?

    If you or a loved one were exposed to industrial solvents and have been diagnosed with a related disease, the attorneys at Hughes Law Offices may be able to help. These are complicated cases that require experienced attorneys. While you and your loved ones focus on recovery, let us do the work needed to prove your case. Contact Hughes Law Offices today at 312-877-5588 for a free attorney consultation.

    Railroad Solvent Exposure Verdicts & Settlements

    Verdict (Illinois, 2016)


    The 51-year-old Plaintiff worked as a maintenance-of-way employee for Chicago & North Western Railway and its successor Union Pacific Railroad from 1976 to 2008. During his employment he endured years of exposure to benzene-laden chemicals such as petroleum solvents and creosote. Following these exposures, he developed acute...

    Verdict (Kentucky, 2006)


    The 67 year old Plaintiff, a former railroad electrician, worked at CSX’s Corbin Yard in Kentucky where he was exposed to several chlorinated solvents as well as asbestos. Following his exposure he was diagnosed with toxic encephalopathy and asbestosis. As a result of his brain damage, he suffered...

    Verdict (Kentucky, 2006)


    A railroad machinist working at CSX’s South Louisville Yard in Kentucky was required to use DowClene, a mixture of two potent chlorinated solvents, to clean electrical equipment and locomotive parts. He was never instructed or trained to use a respirator and he eventually developed toxic encephalopathy....

    Verdict (North Carolina, 1997)


    The 36-year-old plaintiff worked as a laborer at CSX’s Hamlet yard in North Carolina for approximately six years where he was exposed to various chlorinated solvents. The Plaintiff developed brain abnormalities consistent with toxic encephalopathy and chronic solvent-induced dementia. He suffered from severe short-term memory...

    Hughes Law Offices is providing case histories to inform visitors about actual case fact patterns and rulings in your area. Unless specifically noted, the cases summarized herein were not handled by attorneys at Hughes Law Offices.

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    Verdicts and Settlements

    Survey of Railroad Cancer Claims

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    Railroad carman died of pulmonary fibrosis following 18 years of welding.



    Locomotive engineer in his early 60’s developed diesel asthma.



    Railroad mechanic diagnosed with squamous cell oropharyngeal cancer.



    Trainman died of nasopharyngeal cancer as a result of working on-board locomotives filled with diesel exhaust.



    Retired railroad employee died of lung cancer as a result of workplace asbestos exposure.



    61 year old railroad conductor diagnosed with interstitial fibrosis and an increased risk of lung cancer as a result of exposure to diesel exhaust.

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