Police Officers File Suit Over Meth Lab Exposure

Police Officers File Suit Over Meth Lab Exposure

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Debbie Dujanovic reportingSeveral Utah police officers took a major legal step Monday. They filied claims for exposure to toxic chemicals they suffered during meth lab investigations.

They are among a large and growing number of officers who worry it's now leading to cancers, lung diseases and other conditions.

The possible connection was first uncovered by our Debbie Dujanovic, who has this follow-up investigation.

Several officers say they've been intimidated by supervisors and fellow officers over this issue, asking why would they file claims against their own departments? Legally they can, and today they did.

You probably never knew Tom Morgan or his committment to police work. His wife Kathleen will never forget him.

Kathleen Morgan: "Very hard, he was only 58 years old."

Tom Morgan's health battle began in his mid 40's after rushing into a burning building that turned out to be a meth lab. Contaminated with toxic chemicals. He threw up the next day, over the next nine years he deteriorated.

Today Salt Lake attorney Susan Dunn filed legal claims on behalf of eight Utah police officers, with more to follow.

The claim: Exposure to toxic chemicals inside meth labs triggered diseases, led to deaths. Like former narcotics officer Kelly Call, who lives with a pre-cancerous condition in his throat.

Kelly Call, Former Narcotics Officer: "I know a lot of guys who are sick. Looking back, I think it can be directly tied to the meth exposure."

Susan Dunn, Attorney for Officers: "They're coming down with terrible kinds of cancers, gall bladder problems, kidney cancers, esophogeal cancer, at remarkably young ages, some in their early 30's."

By filing workers compensation claims, the officers and their families are asking their police departments to cover medical expenses for the diseases they have or had. They'll have to prove a connection that the chemicals in the meth labs are to blame.

Kelly Call: "We're doing it for everybody, for all law enforcement from here on out. This is going to help every police officer right now and forever down the road."

A legislative committee is also looking at this issue, discussing whether to re-think Utah law and make it easier for police officers with certain diseases to get life-time medical coverage.

We'll keep you updated.

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