A Georgia Pacific paper mill, a company owned by the Koch brothers, has recently come under fire for poisoning the residents of Crossett, Arkansas for more than two decades, according to Newsweek. The mill first came to the town, now of 5,200 residents, back in the 1930s, and has changed ownership multiple times. It was not until the 1990s that residents began complaining of the toxic fumes and waste water that the plant was omitted. Residents began falling ill with respiratory conditions, the air conditioning units and copper wiring of their homes began to face extreme rates of corrosion, and the residents began staying inside as much as possible. The deadly substance included in the 1.5 million pounds of toxic chemicals, that the plant omits each year, come in the form of formaldehyde, dioxin, acetaldehyde, hydrogen sulfide, and chloroform. These chemicals permeate the air, soil, and water, polluting everything in the area and downstream of the mill and are known carcinogens.
Alarming Cancer Rates
In just 15 homes located less than one mile from the plant, there have been 11 fatalities all caused by cancer. A study performed by the Arkansas Department of Health found that the city drinking water did not pose a health threat to residents, while an air quality study is currently still pending. However, many homes make use of well water, particularly on the streets nearest to the mill. Despite the high number of fatalities on the streets closest to the mill, the county, not the city itself, does not have a higher rate of cancer than the rest of Arkansas, according to a study done by the state.
Georgia-Pacific Goes Door to Door
Back in the 1990s, Georgia-Pacific went door to door, asking residents to sign releases that absolved the company from any health or property damage in exchange for lump sums of money. There has not been a whistleblower lawsuit, though there have been documentaries in which former employees have come out to tell their side of the story and what they were allegedly asked to do in terms of illegally dumping waste product and keeping quiet about air pollution measurements, as reported in the New Yorker.
We Are Here To Help
If you have knowledge of your company’s wrongdoing in violation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s rules and regulations, contact an experienced attorney with The Bassett Law Firm today at 479-521-9996. Our environmental litigation attorneys are eager to help hold corporations liable for any harm they cause to area residents.