By: Ana Mendieta
A Wakegan woman is charging that a manufacturer of household cleaning products exposed her late husband and other employees to cancer-causing agents without providing any protection.
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, Josefina Aguilar charges that starting in 1989, Hexagon Packaging Corporation, which makes the tarnish remover Tarn-X and the lime remover CLR in Grayslake, did not provide workers with protective air masks, work clothes, ventilation, decontamination facilities or any training on the potential effects of the chemical handled.
The chemicals would leak onto the worker’s exposed skin and clothes and be inhaled and absorbed, the lawsuit says.
“I want justice and hope that my husband’s death isn’t in vain,” Aguilar, 25, said at a Wednesday’s press conference to announce the lawsuit.
Her husband, Alejandro, died last year of stomach cancer at the age of 30. He had worked at Hexagon Packaging for five years. Their three-year-old son Emmanuel Aguilar, has acute leukemia, which he caught through contact with his father, claims Kupets & DeCaro, P.C., Aguilar’s attorney.
Sylvia Barrera, who worked at Hexagon for three and a half years, died of cancer last May at age 24. Mario Ramirez, another former employee from 1989 to 1994, is also undergoing chemotherapy.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined Hexagon $5,700 in November 1998 after an inspection found seven violations involving the exposure of employees to unknown levels of morpholine and ammonia hydroxide without respiratory protection.