A man who worked for 18 years as an electronic journeyman at Boeing Corp.’s Torrance plant is suing Dow Chemical Co., alleging his longtime exposure to a Dow cleaning solvent caused him to get Parkinson’s disease.
A Dow representative could not be immediately reached for comment on Daniel O’Leary’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit, which alleges negligence, fraud and strict liability. His wife and co-plaintiff, Darla O’Leary, alleges loss of consortium in the complaint brought Thursday, and they are seeking unspecified damages.
Boeing Corp. is not being sued.
O’Leary was employed at a machine shop at the Boeing plant from February 1982 until September 2000 and during that time, worked on electronic machine parts and used various solvents, according to the complaint.
In the 1990s, Boeing began using a degreaser called NEU-TRI that contained trichloroethylene, also known as TCE, the suit states. TCE, a chemical compound and halocarbon commonly used as an industrial solvent, has been been the subject of numerous groundwater-contamination lawsuits.
Throughout his time at Boeing, O’Leary was required to buy NEU-TRI from Dow so it could be used on Boeing electrical parts and motors, his suit states. He was exposed to NEU-TRI daily from minutes to several hours daily, according to the complaint.
O’Leary ultimately developed Parkinson’s disease in June 2011 as well as other illnesses due to the exposure for which he requires constant care, according to his lawsuit. He learned in June 2016 that his health problems could be related to his work at Boeing, the suit says.
O’Leary alleges Dow failed to disclose to him and to Boeing that NEU-TRI contained TCE, which was known to cause Parkinson’s disease.