Man sues gas companies, alleges Madison County refineries gave him cancer

A man is suing gasoline companies, alleging pollution produced by their oil refineries located in Madison County caused him to develop cancer.

Plaintiffs Joshua Curren and Donna Curren filed the lawsuit in the Madison County Circuit Court against defendants Phillips 66 Company, ConocoPhillips Company, BP Products North America, Inc., Shell Oil Company and the Premcor Refining Group, Inc., Equilon Enterprises, Cenovus Energy US, LLC, and Turtle Wax, Inc., citing negligence.

According to the lawsuit, the defendants have a history of building and operating refineries in a region of Illinois containing the municipalities of the city of Wood River, and the villages of Roxana, South Roxana and Hartford. The lawsuit states that from the early 1900s to present day, several oil refineries in the region have been operated by Shell, Texaco, Equilon, Phillips 66 and ConocoPhillips.

The lawsuit states that these refineries produce fuels containing toxic chemicals. The plaintiffs claim it is the defendants’ responsibility to carefully manage in order to prevent them from leaking into the surrounding region and causing a toxic plume that would pollute the air, ground and groundwater.

Joshua Curren claims he has lived in areas in the region since 1984 and has been exposed to the toxic plume. He was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) and claims that being exposed to the benzene in the toxic plume has caused his condition. The lawsuit further states that the defendants conspired to minimize or suppress the knowledge that benzene was harmful in order to market their products, which they knew contained benzene.

Joshua Curren has also included Turtle Wax in the lawsuit because he used the defendant’s products and claims they also contain benzene. He alleges Turtle Wax should have been aware that benzene causes AML.

Donna Curren alleges the defendants’ actions have deprived of her of her husband’s consortium and companionship.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages in excess of $50,000, plus court costs, attorney fees and any other relief the court deems proper.

This article was first published in Madison Record.

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