Toxic Exposure Part of Life for Residents Near Chemical Plants

Toxic Exposure near Chemical Plants

Across the country, communities located near manufacturing and industrial sites face elevated risks of toxic exposure, putting nearby residents in greater danger for developing cancer and other serious health complications. Recent assessments by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and city officials in Houston confirm that families living near chemical plants in a Houston-area suburb are at higher risk of developing leukemia and other cancers.

Toxic Exposure in Houston Suburb

More than two dozen industrial plants in the Houston area emit toxic air pollutants. Many of these are concentrated around Deer Park, a suburb of Houston, and are located in or near residential areas.

Toxic releases are common, sometimes without warning for residents. In August 2022, air pollution control equipment failed at an OxyVinyls plastics manufacturing plant, leading to the release of toxins into the air. This included three known or suspected carcinogens tracked by the EPA.

The incident is one of several in the Deer Park area recently, including:

  • In 2019, a massive tank fire broke out at the Intercontinental Terminals Company in Deer Park. The fire burned for three days and released dangerous amounts of cancer-causing benzene, which remained in nearby neighborhoods even after public health measures were lifted.
  • In May 2023, a blaze broke out at Shell Chemicals’ Deer Park Plant, sending plumes of black smoke into the air. The plant houses chemicals used in plastics and rubber products, including known carcinogens. As a result, at least 68 million gallons of contaminated wastewater were discharged into the Houston Ship Channel.
  • In March 2023, an “emission event” at the OxyVinyls plant led to the release of nearly 15,000 pounds of hydrogen chloride, a gas that can cause serious health complications.
  • Since 2002, the Shell Chemical Plant has experienced 542 chemical leaks and has been targeted in toxic contamination lawsuits.

Toxic Contamination in Communities Across the U.S.

Communities across the country face similar risks from exposure to chemicals released by nearby manufacturing plants. Often, industrial sites are built close to marginalized communities, as is the case in an area along the Mississippi River in southeastern Louisiana known as “Cancer Alley.” The region’s predominantly Black residents are exposed to dangerous toxins from roughly 150 petrochemical facilities located nearby.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES), the East Coast’s largest oil refinery, regularly emits benzene in amounts exceeding the EPA’s “action level” of nine micrograms per cubic meter of air. According to one news site, an air monitor near the refinery recorded a level of benzene more than 21 times the federal limit. The PES refinery is across a freeway from a predominantly Black neighborhood, where several schools, homes, parks and a strip mall are situated.

Toxic emissions from chemical plants have been linked to health problems, including cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and reproductive and developmental disorders

What is Benzene?

A known carcinogen, benzene is a widely used chemical in plastics, resins, lubricants, rubbers, dyes, detergents, drugs and pesticides. It is also used as a solvent in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Benzene is found in numerous workplace and household products, including:

  • Glues and adhesives
  • Paint strippers
  • Cleaning products

Exposure to benzene is known to cause leukemia and other blood disorders.

How We Help Victims of Benzene Exposure 

Seek justice with the help of our experienced attorneys. Our Dallas-based 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.

Call 800.226.9880