Allegheny County Courthouse Wikipedia
PITTSBURGH – A Westmoreland County man is suing a local company and other suppliers, alleging he was exposed to tungsten and cobalt carbide while he worked as a stone grinder.
It's one in a series of such lawsuits filed by his Pittsburgh lawyer who blames cobalt and tungsten carbide for Hard Metal Lung Disease.
Edward Douglas' lawsuit was filed March 11 in Allegheny County and names as defendants Basic Carbide, H.B. Carbide Co., Castlebar, Leech Carbide, Ultra Carbide, Cerazit USA, Hydro Carbide and Ultra-Met.
As stated in the complaint, "during the period of January 2013 through May 2013, on a daily basis while working with and in the vicinity of others working with tungsten carbide and cobalt containing products that were manufactured and/or produced and/or distributed and/or sold and/or supplied by defendants, plaintiff was exposed to and caused to inhale and/or ingest and/or absorb through the eyes and/or skin, the fumes and/or gases and/or vapors and/or dusts which were released from said products during the products intended use."
Douglas claims he noticed health issues related to the metals exposure four years later.
"On April 17, 2017, plaintiff underwent a wedge resection of the right upper, middle and lower lung lobes. He was informed on or about May 1, 2017 that he was suffering from hard metal lung disease related to his work place exposure. This was the first time plaintiff knew or should have known that he was suffering from a lung disease related to the products used in his work environment," the complaint said.
Douglas' attorney, Kelly Enders of Caroselli Beachler & Coleman, told the Pennsylvania Record that she has "filed other cases in the past on behalf of workers that developed Hard Metal Lung Disease from their occupational exposure to dust and fumes from tungsten carbide and cobalt-containing products."
Enders says she has three other cases pending while she pursues Douglas'.
Enders also stated that even though she didn't know specific statistics regarding such cases, she sees "that attorneys in other states do advertise for Hard Metal Lung Disease," presuming that "there are other cases filed nationally."
She sustains that medicine recognizes such contamination.
"The medicine is well-settled that this disease process affects people exposed to dust/mist from hard metal products," Enders said. "The disease has been known by various names: hard metal pneumoconiosis, tungsten carbide pneumoconiosis, hard metal lung, giant cell interstitial pneumonitis (GIP), and cobalt lung."