Benzene Leukemia Lawsuit against DuPont Results in $8.2M Jury Award

A Dallas jury has awarded $8.2 million to a Texas man battling cancer following exposure to benzene from solvents and paint products manufactured and sold by E.I. Du Pont Nemours.

The verdict comes as a result of a lawsuit filed by Virgil Hood, a former painter diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) that was allegedly caused by side effects of benzene contained in DuPont paint and thinners.

Hood worked for Colorado-based Timpte Trailers and Continental Airlines between 1973 and 1996, where he cleaned equipment using solvents, painted and mixed paints, worked on engines and ground equipment. Following his leukemia diagnosis, Hood filed the lawsuit against DuPont in 2012.

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Following trial in Dallas County, the jury awarded $6.74 million for compensatory damages, and $1.5 million for punitive damages, which are designed to punish the manufacturer. The jury found that DuPont should be held 80% liable for negligence and product liability for Hood’s leukemia. The other 20% of the responsibility was assessed against Timpte Trailers.

As a result of his cancer, Hood has undergone chemotherapy and required a bone marrow transplant after being placed on a waiting list. However, the transplant led to complications and during the trial, Hood suffered graft-versus-host disease, caused by his body trying to reject the new bone marrow. He has suffered pneumonia, temporary blindness and extreme weight loss and can no longer work.

According to arguments presented during the two-week trial, DuPont has known about the dangers of benzene since 1938, but refused to take the chemical out of its products.

Benzene is an industrial chemical that has been associated with the development of several fatal forms of cancer, leukemia and other conditions, such as Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML), Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML), Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL), Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL), Hairy Cell Leukemia (HCL), Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Multiple Myeloma, Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDL), Myelofibrosis and Myeloid Metaplasia, Aplastic Anemia and Thrombocytopenic Purpura.

Sometimes referred to as preleukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome is a bone marrow disease that often causes severe anemia and low blood counts due to bone marrow failure. It often precedes the development of acute myelogenous leukemia.


  • BrookApril 6, 2021 at 3:55 pm

    I have worked with chemicals in tire shops, paint shops, round up and I have CML.

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