"Exxon Hid Radiation Risk to Workers for Decades, Witness Says"

"Exxon Mobil Corp., the largest U.S. energy company, 'knew or should have known' that drilling pipes it sent to a Louisiana pipe yard were contaminated with dangerous radioactive material, a witness testified in court.

Paul Templet, a former secretary of Louisiana’s Department of Environmental Quality, told jurors yesterday in a civil trial in state court in Gretna, Louisiana, that internal Exxon memos showed the company had information beginning in the 1930s about cancer-causing radium in the residue, or 'scale,' that built up inside its pipes.

Templet testified as the first witness for 19 former pipe workers who are suing Exxon, claiming they were exposed to radiation and now fear they may get cancer. Templet said Exxon failed to report the contamination to his former agency until as late as 1988, endangering workers who cleaned the pipes at a Louisiana work site."

Bob Van Voris, Margaret Cronin Fisk and Leslie Snadowsky report for Bloomberg January 20, 2010.

Source: Bloomberg, 01/20/2010