Fears Confirmed: Life Near Chemical Plants is Dangerous

Chemical Plant Dangers

Life near industrial manufacturing facilities is dangerous to your health. Recent studies by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the city of Houston and others confirm that residents near chemical plants are at higher risk of developing leukemia and other cancers.

Toxic Releases a Regular Occurrence

Records examined by the New York Times show that toxic releases occur regularly in the Deer Park area outside Houston, and residents are not always notified.

  • In July 2022, toxic chemicals spewed from an OxyVinyls plastics manufacturing plant after pollution control equipment malfunctioned, according to state records.
  • In January 2023, a tornado touched down causing power outages, disrupting pollution control equipment in at least seven refineries and chemical plants. The incident caused known toxins to be discharged in the form of black clouds of smoke.
  • In February 2023, a pressure relief valve opened at another OxyVinyls plant, discharging vinyl chloride into the air.
  • For more than five hours in March 2023, an “emission event” at OxyVinyls released nearly 15,000 pounds of hydrogen chloride, a gas that can cause serious health problems.
  • A fire in 2019 spread to several chemical tanks. A plume of smoke lingered over the Deer Park area for three days and prompted a shelter-in-place warning.

The damage caused by the toxic exposure adds up over time. An Earthjustice analysis found that more than a million pounds of “high-priority” chemicals — including the carcinogens 1,3-butadiene and formaldehyde — have been released over the past decade in the Deer Park area.

Health Risks from Chemical Exposure

A recent EPA study concluded that about 100,000 people living within six miles of chemical plants in Texas and Louisiana have an elevated risk of cancer. In Houston, a separate study by One Breath Partnership found high levels of formaldehyde in the air.

Another study by Houston’s health department and the University of Texas School of Public Health found a 56 percent increased risk of acute lymphocytic leukemia among children living within two miles of the Houston Ship Channel. The research, which started more than a decade ago, shows that those at greatest risk typically live in lower-income neighborhoods surrounding the Ship Channel.

EPA Proposes New Crackdown

In April 2023, the EPA unveiled a proposal to significantly reduce toxic emissions and other harmful air pollution from chemical plants, including the highly toxic chemicals ethylene oxide (EtO) and chloroprene. The reductions would dramatically reduce cancer risks in communities surrounding the plants and cut more than 6,000 tons of toxic air pollution annually.

New Policies Target Loopholes

One goal of the policies is to remove a loophole that allows toxic chemical discharges during bad storms, plant malfunctions or when plants start up or shut down. For the first time, the EPA will separately require chemical plants to monitor air at their fence lines for six key toxins to ensure compliance with the new rules.

How We Help Victims of Benzene Exposure

Seek justice with the help of our experienced attorneys. Our Dallas, Texas, benzene law firm has battled corporate giants on behalf of individuals like you for 20 years, aggressively fighting to hold them responsible for dangerous chemicals and the personal injuries and cancers they cause. If you have suffered a catastrophic injury caused by dangerous products, we can help.

What are my chances?

That’s the first question everyone asks. The truth is it’s impossible to know. But we can tell you this. Waters Kraus Paul & Siegel has what it takes to fight against big corporate interests and win. That’s why we’ve taken more mesothelioma trials to verdict than any other firm. And that’s why we’ve recovered more than $1.3 billion for clients like you. Do you think you have a case? Contact us now to speak with an attorney.

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