What is Creosote?
Creosote is a chemical byproduct of wood combustion that consists mainly of tar. The chemical is formed by the distillation of plant-derived material, such as wood or fossil fuels, and is mainly used as a preservative in wood products and in antiseptic medications.
What's the Problem?
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have determined that creosote is a probable human carcinogen (cancer-causing substance). For decades, studies have found that workers in certain occupations who are exposed to creosote have developed severe, potentially fatal health effects.
Creosote Health Effects
Exposure to creosote has been linked to the following adverse health effects:
- Throat cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Lung cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Skin cancer
- Malignant mesothelioma
- Liver cancer
- Cancer of the scrotum
- Ovarian cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Chemical burns
- Mental confusion
- Respiratory tract infections
- Skin irritation
How Could I Be Exposed To Creosote?
Most people who have severe health effects from creosote are either exposed to high concentrations of the chemical at their jobs, or use products that contain creosote for a health problem (i.e. eczema or psoriasis), according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Occupations with high creosote exposure include:
- Asphalt workers
- Wood-preserving industry
- Rubber, aluminum, iron, steel, and tire factory workers
- People working in coke-producing industries
- Workers who use creosote-treated wood in building fences, bridges, or railroad tracks
- Asphalt application or other coal tar pitch-containing materials
- Homeowners, farmers, or landscapers who apply coal tar creosote to wood
- People who work or live in treated-wood houses (log cabins)
- Natural gas and aluminum smelting industries
Residents Say High Cancer Rate Caused by Creosote in Rail Yard: ABC News Video
How Can I Reduce My Risk of Creosote Exposure?
If you work at a wood preservation facility or gas manufacturing plant, you can limit your exposure to creosote by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, according to the CDC. Wash your hands and any other exposed skin carefully after you are in contact with contaminated soil or water. Make sure children wash their hands frequently and before eating. Discourage your children from putting their hands in their mouths or from engaging in other hand-to-mouth activity.
Do I Have a Creosote Lawsuit?
The Product Liability Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Creosote Lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new injury and death cases in all 50 states.
If you or a loved one has suffered health effects from creosote, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.