Neoprene Plant in Laplace Facing Air Pollution Lawsuits

A neoprene-producing chemical plant is facing multiple lawsuits as a result of potential carcinogens released into the air. The Denka Performance Elastomer plant located in Laplace, Louisiana, is said to be one of the only chemical plants in the country that releases the chemical chloroprene into the air.

According to a study by the Environmental Protection Agency, chloroprene is “a volatile, flammable liquid used primarily in the manufacture of polychloroprene,” 90 percent of which is found in solid form to make adhesives, automotive or industrial parts, coatings, dipped goods, or in this case, neoprene. One result of the polychloroprene manufacturing process is the release of chloroprene into air as exhaust. Similar EPA studies assert that chloroprene is a “likely carcinogen” and that safe levels of chloroprene in the air remain under 0.2 micrograms of chloroprene per cubic meter of air.

Local residents claim that their proximity to the plant causes them to live in fear that they will one day suffer from cancer, and their fear is not unfounded. A 2015 EPA survey of the air showed that St. John Parish, Louisiana, had the highest risk of cancer from an airborne pollutant in the country. It is unknown if this finding is directly related to chloroprene; however, the plant in question is one of only fourteen in the country that produce the chemical, and it has been in operation since 1963 (though its owner company has changed since its founding).

While the long-term effects of chloroprene are not definitively known, the lawsuits filed against Denka could force the company to either reduce or completely cease production until chloroprene emission levels are lowered beyond the aforementioned threshold. The company does not deny that the level of its chloroprene emissions exceeds the EPA standard, but rather, it argues that the standard is unreasonably low, making it impossible for the plant to function according to the regulation.

The attorneys of Broussard, David & Moroux are poised to hold at fault parties responsible for environmental damage, particularly in cases where you or a loved one is harmed or at risk of harm. Contact the attorneys at Broussard, David & Moroux to discuss your legal rights at (337) 233-2323(local) or (888) 337-2323 (toll-free).


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