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  • Writer's pictureKirk Hartley

Argentine Manufacturing Plant Workers Assert Asbestos Exposure Claims Against DuPont In Delaware

Per this article from Delaware Online:

June 25, 2009 DuPont sued over asbestos in ArgentinaEx-Lycra plant workers say they were exposed By ANDREW EDER and AARON NATHANS The News Journal

DuPont Co. exposed workers in Argentina to asbestos until the late 1990s despite knowing the risks of the material, according to three lawsuits filed Wednesday in Delaware. The lawsuits came from former workers at a Lycra spandex plant in Mercedes, Argentina, that was part of DuPont until the sale of its textile unit in 2004. DuPont knew that exposure to asbestos could harm workers as early as 1964, the complaints said, but the company continued to use asbestos in the heat pipes and machinery of its Argentina facilities until the late 1990s. The workers, Cristian Dematei, Juan Carlos Laborda and Ceferino Ramirez, are represented by the Wilmington law firm Jacobs & Crumplar. The law firm said more lawsuits would follow. Dematei, who worked at the facility for 11 years, suffers from asbestosis, a chronic condition that causes shortness of breath and an increased risk of lung cancer, the complaint said. Laborda worked at the plant from 1968 to 1980, according to his complaint, and suffers from asbestosis and asbestos-related lung cancer. Ramirez worked at the facility for 32 years before retiring in 1993. He has been diagnosed with asbestos-related laryngeal cancer and asbestosis, his lawsuit said. The lawsuits allege that workers were never warned of the dangers of asbestos exposure or given respiratory protection. Amanda Velazquez, asbestos medical paralegal for Jacobs & Crumplar, said: “They need to break the double standard,” referring to DuPont stopping using asbestos in U.S. plants earlier. DuPont spokesman Dan Turner said, “While we have not had the opportunity to review the filing yet, and cannot comment on the specifics, we do find it puzzling that the plaintiff’s attorneys have filed the compliant in Delaware rather than the country of origin. The safety and health of our employees, our neighbors and our community has and continues to be DuPont’s highest priority.” Velazquez said it makes sense to sue a company in the place where it is based.

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