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WATER GREMLIN CLAIM INFORMATION

Quick Overview Water Gremlin TCE Health Crisis
Who is Water Gremlin
Exposure to TCE
The TCE Legal Battle
Water Gremlin TCE Health Crisis
What to do if exposed to TCE
TCE Health Concerns
Cost of Services
What is TCE trichloroethylene

WCCO Coverage of Water Gremlin

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A Community Shares Concerns Over Cancer Cases
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THE WATER GREMLIN CLAIMS

The Water Gremlin Company is a manufacturing company located at 4400 Otter Lake Road in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.  It is believed to have been in existence since 1949, as a supplier of recreational fishing products, including lead sinkers. In the 1970s, the company began production of terminals for lead- acid batteries and has used the chemical Trichloroethylene (TCE) as a degreaser of metal parts. It was recently reported to have 218 employees.  In 2005, water gremlin was purchased by Okabe Co. Ltd, which is a Japanese company with affiliate businesses in China and Italy.

During the summer of 2018, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) discovered the company was violating its air pollution permit.  In January of 2019, it demanded that Water Gremlin shut down part of its operation because it was emitting high levels of trichloroethylene into the air.

The MPCA determined that, at times, the emissions nearest the plant were found to be as high as 100 times the state’s health guidance value for trichloroethylene, which is 2 micrograms per cubic meter of air. The MPCA has stated that it believes that Water Gremlin has been releasing excessive levels of the chemicals since as far back as 2002.

The affected area extends 1.5 miles from the plant in all directions, including at least two schools and the homes of about 5,500 residents.

Residents of the area have reported a higher than normal incidence of cancer, neurological, pulmonary and other health issues.

CONTINGENT FEE AGREEMENTS

The Schmidt Salita Law Team is currently accepting cases for the victims of Water Gremlin suffering injury and or death on a contingent fee arrangement. That means that the client will not be expected to pay any attorneys fees unless there is a settlement and then only as a percentage of the settlement.

POTENTIAL LEGAL CLAIMS.

The Schmidt Salita Law Team is exploring several potential legal claims including the following:

  • Personal injury claims for all victims who have suffered injury.

  • Wrongful death claims for the families of the victims who have died as the result of exposure.

  • Workers’ Compensation claims for the victims who have suffered injury due to exposure while working at Water Gremlin or for other employers.

  • Potential punitive damages claims based on the gross negligence of Water Gremlin and its fraudulent concealment of the problem.

SETTLEMENT BETWEEN WATER GREMLIN AND THE STATE OF MINNESOTA.

On March 1, 2019, Water Gremlin Company entered into a stipulation agreement with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency whereby it agreed to pay more than $7 million in fines for emitting high levels of toxic chemicals into the air over many years.

The settlement is recognized as a second largest fine in the history of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

As part of the agreement, Water Gremlin Company agreed to remove all TCE from its facility and to not use it in the future.

FINDINGS OF THE STATE INVESTIGATION

The Minnesota pollution control agency conducted an investigation which resulted in the following findings:

  • From 2000 to 2018, the company annually emitted at least three times more volatile compounds, including TCE than were allowed in its permits.

  • In 2018 alone, the company released 120 tons of the compounds-12 times more than its permit allowed.

  • The company had been making unreported releases of pollution since 2002.

TCE exposure also produces neurological effects, including word finding difficulty, ataxia, decreased appetite, headache, short-term memory loss, sleep disturbances and vertigo/balance problems.

Most importantly, there are serious potential carcinogenic (cancer) effects from TCE exposure. Medical researchers indicated that there is an increased incidence of both malignant and benign tumors as a result of TCE exposure in animals, acting through the same mechanism that would likely cause cancer in human beings. Several studies have also found a definite link between childhood leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

TOXICITY OF TRICHLOROETHYLENE

Trichloroethylene, TCE, is an industrial solvent that is used in both industrial applications, and also found in industrial chemicals and household products such as paint and stain removers, cleaning products and parts cleaners.

It is usually in a liquid form but is highly volatile and can easily evaporate and become airborne. When that happens, the admissions can be harmful to breathe and can cause serious and potentially deadly effects.

Various cancer types are among the most dangerous of the problems resulting from TCE exposure.

Studies have shown that TCE produces central nervous system problems with decreased appetite, gastrointestinal irritation, headaches, mucous membrane problems, and skin irritations. It can also cause chemically driven liver damage due to either inhalation or ingestion. Abnormal heart rhythms are known to be induced by heavy TCE exposure.

TCE exposure also produces neurological effects, including word finding difficulty, ataxia, decreased appetite, headache, short-term memory loss, sleep disturbances and vertigo/balance problems.

Most importantly, there are serious potential carcinogenic (cancer) effects from TCE exposure. Medical researchers indicated that there is an increased incidence of both malignant and benign tumors as a result of TCE exposure in animals, acting through the same mechanism that would likely cause cancer in human beings. Several studies have also found a definite link between childhood leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

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