Family says asbestos killed dad
The three children of Godfrey H. Peltier who died of cancer Nov. 19, 2012, at the age of 81, have filed suit against two carbon black facilities, alleging that their father’s exposure to asbestos at Cabot Carbon Company and Columbian Chemicals contributed to his illness and death.
The suit was filed Nov. 15, four days before the deadline, in the 16th Judicial District Court. It named John Godfrey Peltier, Mark Christopher Peltier and Julie Marlene Peltier Moore individually and on behalf of their late father as plaintiffs against the corporate owners of the two Franklin companies.
Cabot Corporation spokesperson John Shea said the company has not been served a copy of the suit and it is company policy not to comment on pending litigation. Aditya Birla Minacs Worldwide now owns Columbian Chemicals Company. A spokesman for the company would not comment on the lawsuit.
A Houston law firm, Heard, Robbins, Cloud and Black is representing the family in the litigation. Attorneys from the firm did not return calls seeking comment on the litigation.
The attorneys claim in court documents filed with the suit at the St. Mary Parish Clerk of Court office that Peltier was exposed to asbestos for many years in the course of his work as a welder. The injuries, disabilities and death of Peltier are a direct and proximate result of the negligence of each defendant because of his exposure to asbestos, the suit claims.
Dale Kemery, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency press officer, said, “At this time, we are not aware of any violations of EPA’s asbestos rules at carbon black facilities.”
In addition to the three corporate entities, the suit names four contractors as defendants. They are Eagle Inc., The McCarty Corporation, Taylor-Seidenbach Inc. and Reilly-Benton Inc.
The plaintiffs claim that their father’s principal sites of exposure to asbestos were at Cabot Carbon Company and Columbia Chemicals Company, both of Franklin, during a period that included but not limited to 1974 to 79.
John Peltier, the oldest of the siblings said their father was very sick from cancer the last couple years of his life, fighting off infections and pneumonia. His father eventually required hospice care after chemotherapy was no longer effective in fighting the cancer, he said.
The obituary for Godfrey Peltier said he worked for more than 20 years for Cabot and after retiring from Cabot he went to work for SMI Companies where he also worked for more than 20 years.
Cabot, headquartered in Boston, Mass., is the second largest carbon black manufacturer in the country and is a leading provider of rubber and specialty carbons, activated carbon, inkjet colorants, cesium formate drilling fluids and other compounds with 26 manufacturing facilities in 18 countries, the company web site says.
The EPA says that carbon black is a black, powder or granular substance used as a reinforcing agent for rubber with the largest use in the manufacture of automotive tires, but also used to color printing ink, painting, paper and plastics. It is made by burning hydrocarbons in a low-oxygen environment usually with a high-sulfur oil; transforming the oil into soot. The manufacturing process creates significant amounts of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter.
The EPA said it initiated investigation of the carbon black manufacturing sector in 2007, and of Cabot in 2009. The EPA said modifications were performed at Cabot’s plants that violated federal rules. The EPA announced on Nov. 19 that Cabot agreed to pay a total of $975,000 in civil penalties. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, a co-plaintiff in the case, will receive $292,500 of the penalty.
As a result of the consent decree, without acknowledging any noncompliance, Cabot agreed to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter from its plants in Franklin, Ville Platte and Pampa, Texas. Cabot said it will invest about $450,000 toward environmental mitigation projects that will be focused on energy efficiency.
Columbian Chemicals Company is a part of Aditya Birla Management Corporation’s carbon black business, Birla Carbon, the largest manufacturer and supplier of high quality carbon black additives globally and a flagship business of the $40 billion Aditya Birla Group, according to the company’s web site.