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Daily News Archive

Texas Residents Fight Against Chemical Companies
(from August 20, 2002)

Residents of Mission, Texas are fighting for justice against a host of major chemical companies, according to the Abilene Reporter-News. 2,500 people living in Mission are involved in a lawsuit that charges chemical companies with contributing to the deteriorated health of the town. Back in the 1940's, a company called Hayes-Sammons set itself up in Mission to ship in and store pesticides. Soon after Hayes-Sammons moved in, people started getting sick and dying. Although the plant was closed in 1972, residents are still experiencing ill effects.

The people of Mission are demanding retribution from those they believe are responsible: any companies that manufactured chemicals used by Hayes-Sammons. This includes Allied Chemical Corp., Aventis Pharmaceutical, FMC Corp. and Maxus Energy Corp. Attorneys for the defendant companies claim the Mission residents have hardly any evidence for their case. They claim the levels of chemicals found by recent property testing are not high enough to cause such drastic health effects.

Current residents remember growing up near the warehouse where pesticides were stored and splashing about in the chemically saturated "rainbow" puddles when it rained. Now they can count off the people who have died from the old neighborhood. One resident, Ramira Barerra, says the deaths were usually the result of liver cancer or lymphoma. Testing of properties located near the former plant showed levels of toxaphene, dieldrin, beta-BCH, heptachlor epoxide, chlordane, 4,4-DDT and 4,4-DDE, all of which can cause liver, kidney or nervous system damage at high concentrations.

Read the full article here.