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Residents Seek Damages from Wood Preserving Plant
(April 9, 2003)
Responding to their debilitated health and environment, Grenada, Mississippi residents have filed a lawsuit, now pending in three area Circuit Courts, against several companies including a wood treatment plant, according to The Grenada Daily Star. The plaintiffs charge that the release of toxic chemicals from these treatment plants have resulted in the illnesses afflicting them, including cancers, kidney problems, liver problems, reproductive problems, birth defects, lupus, scleroderms, sarcoidosis, respiratory problems, skin problems, gastrointestinal problems, neurological deficits and other health problems.

The lawsuit charges Koppers Industries, Inc., a local facility that uses the toxic wood preservatives pentachlorophenol and creosote to treat railroad ties, with harmful releases of the wood preservatives into the air, soil and water. Illinois Central Railroad Company is also cited as a responsible entity because of its control over Koppers' "purchasing, processing, quality control, cost control, inventory management and product shipping," according to the lawsuit. Plaintiffs charge that waste liquids from the treatment site contaminated the surrounding area through a stream and a ditch in the northeast section of the property, and Jack Creek, into Batupan Bogue.

The plaintiffs are suing the companies on counts of negligence, gross negligence, negligence per se, intentional tort, conspiracy, strict liability and failure to warn. There are a total of 73 plaintiffs, each asking for $65 million from all of the companies they are suing (Koppers Industries, Inc., Beazer East, Inc., Heatcraft, Inc., Lennox International, Inc., Illinois Central Railroad Company, and J. D. Clayton, former plant manager at Koppers Industries). If all money from the suit were granted, the companies would collectively owe nearly $4.75 billion.

Beyond Pesticides' is involved in a lawsuit against EPA in an effort to stop the continued use of the three heavy duty wood preservatives, creosote, pentachlorophenol and chromated copper arsenate (CCA). For more information, please see http://www.beyondpesticides.org/wood/lawsuit/index.htm. Beyond Pesticides' Wood Program Page has many resources for information and activism.