October 11, 2016
Claims state that chemical giants BASF Corporation, Bayer Material Science LCC, Dow Chemical Company, and Huntsman International LLC have been concealing the dangers of harmful isocyanate chemicals from their consumers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) over the past several decades. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states that exposure to these chemicals, which make up polyurethane products such as liquid coatings, paints, insulation foam, and mattress foam, can cause difficulty breathing, chest tightness, and skin irritation, and have been classified as potential carcinogens known to cause cancer in animals.
The lawsuit claims that the defendants discovered new ways the isocyanate chemicals methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI), polymeric MDI (PMDI), and toluene diisocyanate (TDI) can be harmful to humans and cause injuries, and failed to disclose this information to the EPA, in violation of their obligations under the Toxic Substances Control Act. The lawsuit states, “Between at least 1979 and 2003, each defendant obtained and developed discrete and separate items of scientific and medical information that TDI, MDI, or PMDI can cause and had caused permanent respiratory injury in humans when inhaled at levels below applicable inhalation exposure limits (low-level inhalation).”
Because of the information provided by a whistleblower, the U.S. Government is seeking to recover over $90 billion in damages and civil reporting penalties, in which each company is separately liable.