Organic Chemistry Expert Witness Comments on Environmental PCB Contamination

    Organic Chemistry Expert WitnessThis case involves a town in Arkansas where the presence of toxic chemical compounds known as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) had been discovered in several of its buildings. PCBs are man-made organic chemical compounds that were used in hundreds of industrial and commercial applications, such as electrical equipment, fluorescent lighting ballasts, paints, sealants, and caulks. For many years, there was only one manufacturer in the United States that intentionally produced PCBs for commercial use . Products containing PCBs were widely used in the construction and renovation of buildings throughout the US. Internal documents show that it was known that PCBs were toxic as early as the 1930s, and consistently through the 1970s. Some corporations expressed a desire to continue profiting from PCBs despite the environmental and human health havoc. Plaintiffs allege that the defendant corporation, which used PCB coatings for its products, had a duty to provide adequate warnings to Plaintiffs, the public, and public officials of the risk posed by PCBs and PCB-contaminating products. It is alleged that the Defendant knew of the risks associated with PCBs and failed to provide a warning that would lead an ordinary reasonable user or handler of a product to contemplate the dangers associated with PCB-containing products or an instruction that would have allowed plaintiffs to avoid any damage. Despite the Defendant’s knowledge of the presence of PCB-containing products in commercial buildings and schools nationwide, they never issued any warnings, instructions, recalls, or advice regarding PCB-containing products to schools communities, parents, or governmental agencies.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. Please briefly describe your experience in the sealant / caulking industry
    • 2. Do you have extensive familiarity with the sales practices of plasticizer manufacturers, and how a caulk / sealant manufacturer decides which specific plasticizer to use?
    • 3. Do you have any knowledge of the sealant/caulking/plasticizer industry as far back as the 1960s and 1970s?

    Expert Witness Response E-004564

    I have over thirty years experience in the paint and coatings industry. I was a research scientist working with many resins, polymers and flexibility additives. I am the former Director of R&D at a major Corporation, where I also served as the Director of Corporate Quality Assurance as well as the Chairman of the Corporate Product Safety Committee. I have a great deal of expert witness experience with labels and warnings, chemical exposure, and failure to warn cases. Some of these have been with consumer chemical specialty products, some with commercial products, and some with industrial use of hazardous chemicals. I have a PhD in organic chemistry, and I have authored numerous publications in polymer and coating technology.  Additionally, I hold several patents in coatings and polymer field. I have taught organic chemistry at local universities.

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