Lanxess plant manager commits $1 million to prevent butadiene emissions

In a direct response to Ohio Citizen Action's good neighbor campaign, Lanxess Plant Manager Sandy Marshall announced on Thursday that Lanxess will invest $1 million to reduce butadiene emissions that go into the air. Butadiene, a cancer-causing chemical, is one of Lanxess' chief raw materials. Citizens have regularly found butadiene in air samples taken near the plant.

Marshall also told the Lanxess Public Advisory Group on Thursday evening that the plant will make a series of changes designed to reduce the number of accidents, and that the company will call on external experts to evaluate its performance.

Ann Mocke, Northbend resident and a leader of the Westside Action Group, commented, "this is a good starting point. This isn't the end of the work, this is the beginning." Neighbors will continue to work with the plant to verify that the company meets its commitments. In recognition of Lanxess' decisions to work with the community in good faith, Ohio Citizen Action is suspending the public pressure of our good neighbor campaign.

Ohio Citizen Action launched its good neighbor campaign at Lanxess, which was (then known as Bayer Polymer Plastics), on July 1, 2004, due to the number of accidents at the plant, the high levels of toxic emissions, the proximity of the plant to an elementary school, and the complaints about odors and emissions from fenceline neighbors.

Lanxess had 107 accidents in 2004 including three significant releases: 1)From October 2-4, 2004 Lanxess released 1,500 lbs of toxic acrylonitrile, butadiene and styrene in the air during the weekend of Addyston's Octoberfest; 2) On December 15, 2004 Lanxess released 700 lbs of acrylontrile in eight minutes; 3) On February 23, 2005, Lanxess released 750 lbs of butadiene during a meeting with the community on accident prevention.

Campaign Accomplishments

  • Neighbors organized into the Westside Action Group, meeting twice a month since September 2004. This group has 20 core members, a mailing list of 250 and has had up to 100 people attending meetings.

  • Neighbors have taken their own air samples proving the presence of chemicals in the neighborhood. Neighbors also keep pollution logs documenting odors and happenings at the plant.

  • Neighbors were successful in petitioning for the plant management to be changed. Lanxess fired their plant manager and North American General Manager in July 2005. The community immediately began discussions with the new plant manager, Sandy Marshall.

  • Neighbors brought the attention of the media to the problems at the plant, including stories in the major newspapers and television stations.

  • 25,922 Ohio Citizen Action members sent handwritten letters and petitions urging Lanxess Plastics managers to work with neighbors to cut emissions and make their community safer and healthier from July 2004 to September 2005.

    Lanxess press release