For Years, Employees and Customers at Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club in Brooklyn Were Exposed to Cancer-Causing Trichloroethylene (TCE) Vapor
According to a news report published by Gothamist.com, customers and employees who frequented The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club in Brooklyn, New York were exposed to toxic fumes for at least two years. Although indoor air pollution had been detected at the venue as early as March 2021, the property owners remained silent while health officials failed to widely communicate the airborne contamination to the public.. The substance of concern is Trichloroethylene or “TCE,” a known human carcinogen. The exact source of the contamination is not known at this time, but reports indicate that the property has been used for manufacturing since 1886. The discovery of TCE fumes has increased health concerns regarding other public spaces, businesses and homes in the community which has faced rapid development and approval of a controversial rezoning initiative over the last several years.
Parker Waichman LLP is an award-winning law firm with office locations throughout New York City. Our law firm represents people who have developed cancer, injuries, property damage, and the loss of loved ones due to Trichloroethylene exposure and contamination. If you or a loved one have suffered health problems or your property has become contaminated with toxic substances, call us at 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529) for a free consultation.
What is Trichloroethylene?
Trichloroethylene, commonly known as TCE, is a liquid organic chemical that is volatile and colorless. It is not found in nature and is synthesized chemically. TCE has various uses, including the production of refrigerants and hydrofluorocarbons, degreasing metal equipment, and as an ingredient in household products such as cleaning wipes, paint removers, aerosol cleaning products, tool cleaners, spray adhesives, carpet cleaners, and spot removers. Commercial dry cleaners also use TCE as a spot remover.
How are people exposed to Trichloroethylene (TCE). Trichloroethylene can be found in the air, water, and soil in places where it is produced or used. Due to its slow degradation, it remains in the environment for an extended period and can accumulate in groundwater. The general population can be exposed to TCE by inhaling it in indoor and outdoor air, consuming food processed with contaminated water, or drinking contaminated water.
Contaminated soil and groundwater can be found near many current and former military bases, as the US military extensively used TCE to degrease equipment. People who work with TCE may inhale the chemical from the air or absorb it through their skin.
Which Cancers are Associated with Exposure to Trichloroethylene?
According to Cancer.gov, prolonged or continued exposure of Trichloroethylene causes certain types of cancer, such as kidney cancer. Cancer.gov also suggests that Trichloroethylene increases the risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma and liver cancer.
The Other Health Concerns Associate with Trichloroethylene Exposure
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), short-term Trichloroethylene exposure can lead to harmful effects on the respiratory system, liver, nervous system, blood, kidneys, immune system, body weight, and heart.
Exposure to Trichloroethylene in the work environment may also cause scleroderma. Scleroderma is a rare, chronic autoimmune disease that affects the connective tissues, causing hardening and thickening of the skin and internal organs such as the lungs, heart, and kidneys. It is characterized by the overproduction of collagen, which results in the formation of scar tissue. Scleroderma is often accompanied by Raynaud’s phenomenon, a condition in which the fingers and toes turn white or blue in response to cold or stress. The exact cause of scleroderma is unknown, but it is believed to be triggered by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. There is no cure for scleroderma, but treatments are available to manage symptoms and improve quality of life.
Men who are exposed to Trichloroethylene report decreases in sex drive, reproductive hormone level issues, and lowered sperm quality. The CDC also states that there is strong evidence that Trichloroethylene can cause malignant lymphoma, kidney cancer, and liver cancer. The Department of Human Health Services (HHS) warns that Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a “known to be a human carcinogen.”
The National Library of Health reports that low-level Trichloroethylene exposure has been associated with fetal heart defects, low birth weight, and fetal growth restriction.
Did The Royal Palms Owners Know of the Dangers?
Parker Waichman LLP’s attorneys are currently investigating the potential toxic exposure matter, as reported by Gothamist.com. The investigation involves a bar and shuffleboard venue called, The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club, which is located at 514 Union Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215 (“Royal Palms”). According to the news report, the address where The Royal Palms is located was previously used as a manufacturing facility since approximately 1886. The contamination has also since been reported by WNYC, a New York Public Radio station.
According to the Gothamist report, the owners of The Royal Palms knew for two years (April 2021) that Trichloroethylene (“TCE”), a known cancer-causing chemical, was detected in the indoor air of the premises. However, the Department of Environmental Conservation (“DEC”) documented indoor air pollution involving Trichloroethylene back in March 2021. The DEC’s monitoring results showed 21,000 micrograms per cubic meter of Trichloroethylene under sections of the building. This is 10,000 times the permitted amount of Trichloroethylene under New York State Department of Health guidelines. The underground pollution fumes were found to be seeping into the indoor air at the premises, and the levels were found to be 20 times the state’s legal limit.
Although the owners of The Royal Palms contend that they were only aware of the TCE contamination as of April 2021, the property owners of where the Royal Palms is located, Avery Hall Investments, were aware of the TCE indoor air pollution at the adjacent premises located at 473 President Street back in August 2019. In 2019, Avery Hall Investments purchased these properties adjacent to The Royal Palms to construct a “mixed-use development” that wraps around venue. The development is expected to be completed in 2025. The company has unveiled numerous development plans in Gowanus following that relied on a controversial rezoning of re 80 blocks around the Gowanus Canal, a well-known superfund site where a variety of heavy industries historically operated..
In January 2021, a corporate entity believed to be associated with Avery Hall Investments, applied for funding to remediate the site adjacent to The Royal Palms under New York’s Brownfield Cleanup Program. The program offers developers property tax credits and liability protection to help redevelop contaminated sites. In late October, the site where The Royal Palms is located was also designated a brownfield site under the program. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has issued fact sheets outlining their investigation and remediation plans for the site, but the fact sheets do not mention any levels of Trichloroethylene (TCE) or other contaminants that exceed the health guidelines set by the state.
How Many People May Have Been Exposed to Trichloroethylene (TCE) or Other Contaminants Exceeding the EPA’s Guidelines?
It is believed that thousands of people were exposed to the contaminants since The Royal Palms has a 500-person capacity and has remained in operation since 2013
A state-approved construction project began last month to contain and decrease the toxic fumes. However, the ventilation systems are only intended to alleviate underground pollution, and the systems will not be completed until the third quarter of 2024.
CONTACT PARKER WAICHMAN FOR A FREE CONSULTATION
If you or a loved one has been exposed to Trichloroethylene (TCE) and have suffered from adverse health effects, including fetal heart defects or other serious illnesses, contact Parker Waichman LLP today for a free case evaluation. Our experienced team of attorneys is dedicated to helping those who have been harmed by exposure to toxic chemicals seek justice and obtain the compensation they deserve. We’ll help you determine who is responsible for the damages you’ve suffered and hold them accountable. Call us toll-free at 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529) to receive your free consultation and learn more about your legal options.
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