Within the stretch of land separating New Orleans and Baton Rouge, you will find another infamous Louisianan region: Cancer Alley. Less than six miles away from jolly New Orleans, Cancer Alley is a designated “sacrifice zone” for the thousands of people that call that piece of the Mississippi corridor home. The skyline of the area is punctuated by austere factories and plumes of thick smoke laden with carcinogens. Air pollution does more than just ruin the beauty of the area.
The decision makers of the big corporations that operate these factories know their toxic exhaust and the resulting air pollution causes cancer; you will not find company execs or their families living near these dangerous facilities. Instead, they sacrifice the health of local people in the name of the almighty dollar.
Once a beautiful place to raise a family, corporations transformed the humble area into the dystopian Cancer Alley, where the excess cancer risk in some areas is as great as 1 in 210.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for corporations to treat American lives as collateral in their pursuit of profit. Nearly 1,000 areas across the United States have been identified as toxic hot spots due to the air pollution from nearby factories, and there are likely many more once-pristine places that have become unsafe due to air pollution effects.
In October 2021, Frazer Onder Environmental Law earned a $72 million verdict against a secondary copper smelter in Illinois on behalf of 12 bellwether plaintiffs in an airborne dioxin case.
Miriam-Webster defines air pollution as “the action of polluting especially by environmental contamination with man-made waste.” What it’s really about is money.
Corporations make billions of dollars off of products that are harming our land, our animals, and ourselves. They often spend tens of millions of dollars (if not more) on propaganda campaigns, lobbying efforts, and community outreach to make us believe these products and chemicals are safe. They know that, if they control the messaging, they can get by with profiting from harming the environment for decades or longer before someone holds them accountable.
Not all factories release the same chemicals.The chemicals produced vary depending on what the factory produces. However, the vast amount of chemicals released are toxic to human health. While there are thousands of toxic substances found in corporate air pollution, some of the most prevalent, dangerous chemicals are:
Historically, the danger of corporate air pollution has been underestimated in order to protect multi-billion-dollar industries. Even government agencies are guilty of prioritizing profit over the welfare of people. However, the current research is uncovering the terrible effects of air pollution, linking it to various serious health conditions.
The EPA’s guidelines list the acceptable added cancer risk from air pollution as 1 in 10,000 in the 1980s. Yet this number means nothing. The limit was arbitrarily set due to the vast amount of unknown information regarding the effects of air pollution at the time.
New knowledge and technology lead most scientists to believe the guideline should change to 1 in 1 million in order to provide proper safety for people who are exposed.
Even so, the excess cancer risks in some areas is as high as 1 in 53. Corporations do not fear repercussions from the EPA, so they use loopholes to bypass the current safety limit.
Air pollution hot spots are sprinkled everywhere across the United States. Nearly every state has at least one hot spot that produces an unsafe level of carcinogens.
Check out this interactive air pollution map to find reported air quality issues anywhere in the United States: https://www.epa.gov/outdoor-air-quality-data/interactive-map-air-quality-monitors
The 20 most toxic hotspots are primarily located in the American South, where big corporations can (and do) take advantage of rural areas and cheap land. Economically impoverished areas often become the sites for big chemical plants. Corporations entice rural counties and municipalities with the promise of desperately needed jobs and tax dollars. These factories release unsafe levels of carcinogens, and the innocent locals cannot do anything about it.
The factories destroy land and lives. When corporations come, pollute the air, and destroy property value, it makes it virtually impossible for the innocent residents to escape.
Why should corporations be allowed to transform people’s beloved homes into toxic wastelands?
Why should hard-working people like you and me be forced to pay the cost of corporate air pollution?
Hundreds of petrochemical factories are guilty of recklessly releasing toxic contaminants into the air. According to the University of Massachusetts, the top offenders are:
Air pollution has been linked to multiple adverse health conditions, including but not limited to:
The EPA is supposed to monitor and regulate the air pollution emitted by corporations. However, biased political agendas have rendered the government agency wholly ineffectual in the fight against corporate air pollution.
Matthew Tejada, director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice, believes it could take decades to discover solutions to this problem – decades of mothers miscarrying children. Decades of babies born with life-threatening birth defects. Decades of harm to the ecological systems we rely upon. Decades of innocent people dying horrible deaths from terrible illnesses.
We do not have decades to waste, not when the price of waiting enables corporate air pollution to harm the environment and innocent people.
Call Frazer Onder Environmental Law at 800-881-0939.
Unfortunately, making complaints to a corporation, to local officials, or even to the EPA is often not enough to stop companies from polluting the air and the environment. They are likely making billions of dollars, and they have too much on the line to listen to complaints by what they consider “small players,” – local residents, tribal authorities, and city or county municipalities.
You need a law firm experienced in environmental law with the talent and resources to take on the biggest players.
At Frazer Onder Environmental Law, we are holding the world’s largest corporations accountable for their wrongdoings. Government action will take too long, and those harmed by toxic air deserve justice now.
We have decades of experience taking on some of the biggest corporations in the world, and we have the financial and staff resources to win.
Lawsuits like this can take years to resolve. Corporations often use delay tactics hoping to financially outlast anyone who challenges them. We aren’t intimidated by these strategies. We’ve forced dozens of corporations to change the way they do business by hitting them where it hurts – in their profit margins.
If you represent a tribe, municipality, or individuals who will no longer stand for corporate toxic air pollution, please call Frazer Onder Environmental Law. We are ready to help you receive the justice that you deserve.
Together, we can make a difference.