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.

What is the Definition of Air Pollution?

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.

What Toxic Chemicals are Found in Corporate Air Pollution?

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:

  • Ethylene oxide: deemed a carcinogen through inhalation exposure by the EPA.
  • Benzene: the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) found that long-term exposure to benzene contaminated air causes leukemia and other cancers.
  • 1,3-butadiene: classified as a known human carcinogen by the EPA.
  • Vinyl chloride: exposure is associated with an increased risk of hepatic angiosarcoma, lymphoma, leukemia, brain cancer, and lung cancer.
  • Chromium compounds: clearly established to cause lung cancer when inhaled.

How Dangerous are Air Pollution Hot Spots?

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.

Where are the Hot Spots?

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?

Click this air contamination map, created by ProPublica using EPA air pollution data.

Who are the Biggest Corporate Offenders for Toxic Air Contaminants?

Hundreds of petrochemical factories are guilty of recklessly releasing toxic contaminants into the air. According to the University of Massachusetts, the top offenders are:

  • Boeing
  • LyondellBasell
  • Huntsman
  • Linde
  • BASF
  • Dow, Inc.
  • Celanese
  • Assa Abloy
  • Baker Hughes
  • Eastman Chemical

What are the Health Effects of Air Pollution?

Air pollution has been linked to multiple adverse health conditions, including but not limited to:

  • Asthma
  • Birth defects
  • Breast cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Emphysema
  • Lung cancer
  • Miscarriage
  • Neurobehavioral effects
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Who is Monitoring Corporations that Pollute the Air?

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.

Concerned about your contaminated air?

Call Frazer Onder Environmental Law at 800-881-0939.

Do I Need an Environmental Lawyer to File an Air Pollution Claim?

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.