Oil refineries help to power Philadelphia – but they can also emit dangerous pollutants, fumes, and chemicals. If pollution is released into the plant or environment, workers or nearby residents can develop serious health problems, such as cancer or benzene poisoning. Victims can also be exposed to harmful pollution or chemicals if an accident causes a spill, leak, fire, or explosion.
If you suffered from injuries or health complications due to oil refinery pollution exposure, the Reiff Law Firm can fight to hold the responsible parties accountable. We are aggressive, highly experienced litigators who understand the complex regulatory factors impacting lawsuits against oil companies and negligent refinery workers. We will vigorously pursue the maximum compensation for your injuries, handling all legal aspects of your case so that you can focus on what matters most: getting the care you need. Contact us online today to set up a free legal consultation, or call the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 246-9000 to speak with a refinery pollution injury lawyer in Philadelphia.
Oil Refineries in Philadelphia, PA
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), there are currently 135 active petroleum refineries throughout the United States. This figure includes at least four active oil refineries in Pennsylvania, one of which is the Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) Refinery (formerly operated by Sunoco) in South Philadelphia.
Producing an estimated 335,000 barrels of oil per day – just slightly less than the 356,440 barrels produced daily by the country’s tenth largest refinery – the PES Refinery is by far Pennsylvania’s largest oil refining operation. For comparison, Pennsylvania’s second-largest refinery produces roughly 185,000 barrels of oil per day. Several fires have occurred at the PES Refinery during June 2019 alone, including a massive explosion on June 21 that reportedly caused minor injuries to several workers.
Pollution Caused by Oil Refineries
Refineries utilize and release countless substances that can be extremely hazardous to human health. These substances may contaminate the air, water, or soil, or cause health problems from direct contact, such as inhalation or skin contact. Examples of pollutants that may be released by refineries, factories, and other industrial plants include:
- Benzene – The American Cancer Society ranks benzene, which is used to make rubber, plastic, and pesticide, “among the 20 most widely used chemicals in the United States.” Benzene also occurs naturally in crude oil.
- Lead – Though no longer used in pencils or newer household paints, lead remains vital to the manufacturing of batteries and cable sheathing.
- Nitrogen Oxides – According to the National Library of Medicine, nitrogen oxides “are emitted from… the burning of coal, oil, diesel fuel, and natural gas, especially from electric power plants.”
- Sulfur Dioxide – Sulfur dioxide is a foul-smelling gas with uses that range from industrial manufacturing to preserving dried fruits.
Health Problems from Pollution
Whether it occurs through inhalation, skin contact, or the consumption of contaminated food or water, exposure to industrial pollution may cause a number of acute (sudden) or chronic (ongoing) health problems. In severe cases, exposure can even be fatal or cause health problems for future generations, such as cancer or birth defects. Injuries, side effects, and health issues that are associated with exposure to toxic pollution may include the following, depending on the pollutant and the severity of the exposure:
- Benzene poisoning
- Congenital defects
- Lead poisoning
- Lung disease
- Reactive Airway Dysfunction Syndrome (RADS), which is a form of asthma
- Wrongful death
Can You Sue an Oil Company for Injury or Death in Philadelphia?
It is crucial to be represented by the right type of attorney, especially in a case involving issues as complex as compliance with oil and gas industry safety regulations. For example, in recent years some plaintiffs have begun suing alleged polluters in climate change lawsuits. However, when pollution lawsuits are focused around injuries or fatalities, it is vital to represented by a personal injury lawyer or wrongful death attorney, rather than a lawyer who focuses strictly on environmental issues. Only a wrongful death or personal injury attorney possesses the appropriate legal background to develop your claim fully, analyzing medical evidence and evaluating the long-term impacts of your injuries.
You may have a cause of action, or cause to file a lawsuit, if you suffered pollution-related injuries or health issues due to the negligence of an oil company or individual employee. While the full definition is multifaceted, negligence can be simply understood as the failure to meet expected safety standards, leading to an injury or fatality that could have been prevented. Our pollution exposure attorneys in Philadelphia will review your situation from every angle to determine whether you could have a case and who may be at fault or your injuries.
Philadelphia Oil Refinery Accident Lawyer for Pollution Exposure Injuries
Factories and refineries can release dangerous pollutants, exposing both workers and members of the general public to harm. If you developed health problems after being exposed to pollution from an oil refinery in Pennsylvania, you may be entitled to financial compensation. With over 34 years of experience, the pollution exposure injury lawyers of the Reiff Law Firm are here to fight on your behalf. We can pursue compensation for your medical treatment, lost income, pain and suffering, and other harm that you have suffered due to pollution exposure.
To discuss your matter confidentially in a free legal consultation, contact the Reiff Law Firm online, or call today at (215) 246-9000. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to answer your questions and provide assistance.