Nov 30: Public elementary school closed by factory's carcinogenic pollution

Kids still use the playground at the shuttered Hitchens Elementary School, which closed in 2005. (Garrett Hubbard/USA Today)

CINCINNATI -- "An elementary school has been shut for 4 years because of carcinogenic fumes from a nearby plastics plant, and the lost classroom space is crowding other schools. The Three Rivers Board of Education says Ineos ABS and Lanxess Corp. polluted the air at Meredith Hitchens Elementary School so badly the Ohio EPA told the superintendent that rooftop monitors 'revealed that two chemicals from the plastics plant across the street were drifting over the school at levels that made the risk of cancer 50 times higher than what the state considers acceptable,'" Melissa Thomas, Courthouse News Service.

ADDYSTON -- Plastics plant sued over shuttered school west of Cincinnati, Associated Press. Published November 29.

ADDYSTON -- Three Rivers sues over pollution, Denise Smith Amos, Cincinnati Enquirer. Published November 27.
Aug 5: Cordray & Ohio EPA reach multimillion dollar settlement with chemical manufacturer

COLUMBUS -- "Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray last week joined the U.S. Department of Justice in filing a Consent Decree, including a $3.1 million settlement, with INEOS ABS (USA) and the former Lanxess Corp., operators of a plastic resins manufacturing facility located in the village of Addyston near Cincinnati. The joint state/federal air pollution enforcement action, taken on behalf of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. EPA, spells out specific pollution control and monitoring the company must implement and specifies penalties for potential future violations. 'The people of Addyston have watched and listened for years, as concerns were raised about toxins from this plant polluting the air they breathe,' said Attorney General Cordray. 'The financial penalty helps us to enforce state and federal laws, but the pollution control and monitoring called for in the settlement are more important because they will protect against further harm to the community,'" Toledo Legal News.
Mar 3: Healthy Schools Hero Award 2009: Ruth Breech

NEWTON CENTER, MA -- "Every year, to mark the anniversary of the March 18, 1937 Texas School Explosion, I name a Healthy Schools Hero who demonstrates extraordinary responsibility and inspirational leadership for safety in schools. The 2009 Healthy Schools Hero Award winner is Ruth Breech, Program Director at Global Community Monitor in El Cerrito, CA. Ruth Breech was nominated by Peter Fugazzotto, Director of Oceans and Communities, for her work to protect school children in Addyston, Ohio from the hazards of toxic industrial pollution. Described in the media as a 'tenacious, high-energy community activist,' Breech is motivated to 'tell the untold story' of the people who suffer in silence in 'fenceline' communities such as Addyston, Ohio," Ellie Goldberg for Healthy Kids.
Jan 15: EPA nominee pledges to address toxic hot spots around schools
barbara boxer
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., asks about EPA's handling of toxic industrial emissions near schools.

WASHINGTON, DC-- "President-elect Barack Obama's choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency promised Wednesday that she would deploy federal regulators to check air quality around schools in response to a USA TODAY investigation that identified hundreds of schools that appeared to be in toxic hot spots... USA TODAY identified 435 schools in locations where the air outside appeared more dangerous than at an Ohio elementary school shut down three years ago. That school, Meredith Hitchens Elementary, was closed after Ohio officials found carcinogens outside at 50 times what the state considers acceptable," Brad Heath and Blake Morrison, USA TODAY.

Jan 2, 2009: Possible air hazards rarely considered in plans for schools

new schoolSPRINGDALE, AR -- "USA TODAY spent eight months examining the impact of industrial pollution on schools across the nation and used a government computer simulation to identify schools in potential toxic hot spots, a task the EPA has never undertaken. The newspaper identified 435 schools in locations where the air outside appeared more dangerous than at an Ohio elementary school that was shut down three years ago after officials found the air there saturated with carcinogens 50 times higher than what the state considers acceptable. At least 43 of the 435 schools — or about 10% — opened in the past decade," Brad Heath, Blake Morrison and Dan Reed, USA TODAY, published December 29.

Dec 8, 2008: Health risks stack up for students near industrial plants

Matt Becker's 7-inch scar came from exploratory surgery after doctors thought they saw another tumor in the 17-year-old.
ADDYSTON -- "The growl of air-monitoring equipment has replaced the chatter of children at Meredith Hitchens Elementary School in this Cincinnati suburb along the Ohio River. School district officials pulled all students from Hitchens three years ago, after air samples outside the building showed high levels of chemicals coming from the plastics plant across the street. The levels were so dangerous that the Ohio EPA concluded the risk of getting cancer there was 50 times higher than what the state considers acceptable... Cancer found Matt Becker before he turned 16. It gave him nosebleeds that lasted for hours and a melon-size tumor inside his chest. It kept him in the hospital for weeks at a time, a tube draining quarts of fluid from the lining of his lungs. It stole his sophomore year of high school and almost took his life. 'I never thought a kid my age could go through what I went through,' he says now, as calmly as if he were recounting a boring day at school. For eight years, Matt went to school across the street from his house, at Sayler Park School in the Cincinnati neighborhood of the same name," Blake Morrison and Brad Heath, USA Today.

Dec 8: 'Weird' smell set off probe at Ohio school

ADDYSTON -- "The toxic chemicals that led to the closure of Meredith Hitchens Elementary School here became impossible to ignore in 2004, during the annual Oktoberfest celebration at the school. The air outside the building, never pristine, 'smelled weird and everyone noticed it' that Saturday, recalls Ruth Breech, a community activist. Ohio Citizen Action, an advocacy group for whom Breech worked, had begun a public awareness campaign aimed at curbing emissions at Lanxess Corp., which ran a plastics plant across the street from the school," Blake Morrison, USA Today.
Oct 2: I-Team special report: Chemical plant

ADDYSTON -- "Folks around Addyston are getting set for yet another big change. The company that was Monsanto, then Bayer, then Lanxess – and now Lustran Polymers – is about to change one more time. But what isn't changing is the business inside:  making plastics from chemicals... The new name is INEOS. And this isn't just a name change; it's new ownership. That has some neighbors concerned. 'It's a British-owned company. They don't live around here. Are they going to deal with the community?,'" WCPO.
Sep 10, 2007: Advocates want more air-pollution monitors

COLUMBUS -- "For example, an Ohio EPA study around the Lanxess Corp. plastics plant in Addyston, about 20 miles west of Cincinnati, found high levels of toxic chemicals. The agency concluded in 2005 that the cancer risk for residents was 50 times greater because of two chemicals emitted into the air from the plant. Lanxess disputed the findings. Until the state EPA brought in monitors, no machines were nearby that could have detected the chemicals. In 1999, the state EPA issued a report documenting dangerously high levels of benzene emissions from the New Boston Coke coal processing plant in Scioto County. The agency found that that one in 500 nearby resident had a higher-than-normal risk of developing cancer from airborne benzene. Those examples show that more monitors are needed, said Teresa Mills, director of the Buckeye Environmental Network, an Ohio advocacy group," Associated Press, Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Mar 15: State EPA gives Lanxess a deadline
Emissions high on some days

CINCINNATI -- "Lanxess is making progress in reducing emissions of acrylonitrile and 1,3-butadiene, two chemicals linked to cancer in humans. Because of that, the state has agreed not to pursue litigation against the company, said Heather Lauer, EPA spokeswoman. 'We've said all along that the company is a nuisance, but we've agreed not to deal with that now, but just to focus on getting the (emissions) numbers down to where they're supposed to be without any spikes,' she said," Peggy O'Farrell, Cincinnati Enquirer.
Mar 14: Ohio EPA, county reach agreement with Lanxess

CINCINNATI -- "Lanxess Corp. will conduct studies this month to determine what is causing air violations at its Addyston plant, the result of an agreement with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services, the Ohio EPA said Tuesday. Under the agreement, Lanxess will submit evaluations and control measures for lowering its emissions of 1,3 butadiene and acrylonitrile by March 31," Cincinnati Business Courier.
Nov 21:  Addyston cancer not linked to plant
County health agency gives study results

Epidemiologist Cynthia Yund discusses her review of cancer cases in Addyston.

ADDYSTON -- "A case assessment study by the Hamilton County Health Department identified a number of risk factors - including smoking and diet - shared by village cancer victims, and none of those risk factors involve the Lanxess Corp. plant. The study results were detailed Monday at a meeting of the Addyston Environmental Task Force, which was formed after residents expressed concerns about emissions coming from Lanxess," William A Weathers, Cincinnati Enquirer

Nov 9:  Plastics factory told it must cut emissions

Neighbors of Lanxess Plastics and Ohio Citizen Action toured Lanxess' improvement projects on November 2, 2006. Lanxess highlighted improvements made to their butadiene flare, the thermal oxidizer and waste water treatment process. Lanxess has had one year of aggressive improvements and will continue in 2007 at the same pace focusing on reductions of acrylontrile, styrene and odors.

ADDYSTON -- "The state again has ordered a plastics factory across from a school outside Cincinnati to reduce emissions of suspected carcinogens. Yesterday, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency ordered Pittsburgh-based Lanxess to reduce emissions of acrylonitrile, butadiene and other chemicals from its plant in Addyston," Mike Lafferty, Columbus Dispatch.
Oct 20:  EPA: Lanxess emissions reduced

ADDYSTON -- "State officials announced Thursday that certain chemical emissions from the Lanxess Corp. plant have been reduced and meet public health standards. For residents here, the announcement was good news - and a matter of life and death," Quan Truong, Cincinnati Enquirer.

ADDYSTON -- Reduced emissions, Hagit Limor, WCPO
Oct 9:  Addyston, Ohio: The Plastics Plant Next Door

Lanxess plantADDYSTON -- "Ohio Citizen Action, an environmental watchdog organization with 100,000 dues-paying members, targeted Addyston and the Lanxess plant for a citizen anti-pollution and good neighbor campaign because there was an unusually high incidence of asthma and cancer in the community right across the street from a plastics plant that was emitting large quantities of cancer-causing chemicals, Breech explains. Lanxess was also the source of more accidental releases than other companies its size and was one of the top five plants in the county in terms of the toxicity of the chemicals it used and the proximity of the residents to the plant," Steve Lerner, Commonweal.
Jun 17:  Lanxess: Cancer study flawed
Chemical company denies it is the cause of high incidence

Sandy Marshall attempts to answer neighbors' questions at a community meeting Wednesday, September 14, 2005.

ADDYSTON -- "In December, the Ohio EPA released an air quality study stating that people who breathed fumes from the plant over a period of decades had a 50 percent higher risk of developing cancer than people who hadn't. Sandy Marshall, Lanxess's Addyston plant manager, called that report 'flawed and premature...' Marshall's points include: The cancers observed most frequently in Addyston correspond to those seen most often nationally and statewide, he said. The state study does not implicate Lanxess, he said, and the report points out that many risk factors, including smoking, diet and physical activity, combine to cause cancer," Peggy O'Farrell, Cincinnati Enquirer.
Jun 15:  U.S. EPA cites plastics plant over release of contaminants

ADDYSTON -- "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has cited plastics maker Lanxess Corp. for air contamination at its Addyston plant. But company officials say they've already taken steps to address two of the issues mentioned by the EPA... (Mike Kramer, of the county's Department of Environmental Services) and Ruth Breech, southern Ohio program director for environmental group Ohio Citizen Action, questioned the EPA's timing. 'It's a little after the fact,' Breech said," Peggy O'Farrell, Cincinnati Enquirer.

ADDYSTON -- Lanxess cited by EPA, Until now, Lanxess has faced complaints from neighbors and an environmental group called Ohio Citizen Action, Hagit Limor, WCPO.
Jun 14:  U.S. EPA cites Lanxess

The Lanxess plant in Addyston. Photo by Mike Munden, Columbus Dispatch.
ADDYSTON -- "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has cited Addyston plastics maker Lanxess Corp. for alleged air violations. A report released last month by the Ohio Department of Health found the incidence of cancer in the village of about 1,000 is 76 percent higher than expected. The plant on River Road has been under state and federal scrutiny because of toxic chemical emissions, including 1, 3-butadiene and acrylonitrile. Both chemicals are linked to cancers in humans. Hamilton County health officials are reviewing those cancer cases," Peggy O'Farrell, Cincinnati Enquirer.

Jun 6: Another Lanxess accident
Plastics plant releases 151 lbs of Acrylonitrile, 321 lbs of Styrene, 6 lbs of Butadiene, 35 lbs other compounds into air

ADDYSTON -- "Lanxess Plastics had another round of accidents on May 31 and June 1, 2006, releasing over 500 pounds of chemicals into the air, including 157 pounds of cancer-causing chemicals. According to plant manager Sandy Marshall, the accidents were caused by problems in the electrical systems. Marshall says Lanxess is installing a secondary electrical system to prevent another problem in the system," Ruth Breech, Ohio Citizen Action. 20 Kb doc.

Lanxess Public Advisory Group will be meeting at 5 pm on Wednesday June 15, 2006 at the Miami Township Hall, 112 S. Miami Rd, Cleves.
Previous 2006 Accidents

Jun 5: Addyston cancers studied
Incidence rate is higher than normal, and county wants to know why

ADDYSTON -- "The detective work is starting as Hamilton County health officials try to determine why so many people in Addyston have cancer. A May 25 report from the Ohio Department of Health shows the incidence of cancer in Addyston, a village of about 1,000 people, is 76 percent higher than expected in the general population. Residents such as Sue Lloyd, a breast cancer survivor, have long been concerned about emissions from the plastics plant in town, which has been operating since the 1950s, Peggy O'Farrell, Cincinnati Enquirer.

May 27: Addyston and its plastics plant
Alarming cancer rate found in village

ADDYSTON -- "State health and environmental officials found an unusually high number of cancer cases in an Ohio River village where a plastics plant leaked toxic chemicals into the air. While the Ohio Department of Health won’t link the cancers to the Lanxess plant, an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency investigator said residents of Addyston should not rule it out. Addyston is about 12 miles west of Cincinnati. A Health Department study found 55 cancer cases in a town that should have had 31," Spencer Hunt, Columbus Dispatch.
May 26: Addyston cancer rate 'troubling'
State study shows cases are 76% over the expected rate

ADDYSTON -- "Cancer incidence in this village, where a plastics plant has released chemicals for decades, is considerably higher than the expected rate, an Ohio Department of Health study shows. Health officials say they don't have enough information to say why those cases are occurring. Staff from the Hamilton County General Health District will conduct a follow-up study to get more information, health commissioner Tim Ingram said. That study should be complete by October," Peggy O'Farrell, Cincinnati Enquirer.

ADDYSTON -- Study shows increased cancer rate near plastics plant, Akron Beacon Journal.

ADDYSTON -- Ruth Breech/Ohio Citizen Action, on tape: "Here you have a community that has a higher incidence of cancer and a chemical plant that puts out cancer-causing chemicals. I mean, you can make the connection," Hagit Lamor, WCPO.
May 25: Addyston report on cancer risk released tonight

ADDYSTON -- "Addyston residents will hear the results of a report on cancer incidence in their community tonight at 7... In 2005, Ohio EPA officials said residents near the Lanxess plant have a 50 percent greater chance than the general public of developing cancer if they breathed fumes released by the plant for decades. Lanxess officials protested that finding, and since 2004, the company has spent more than $3 million to address the unintentional release of chemicals into the air, company officials have said," Peggy O'Farrell, Cincinnati Enquirer.
Carol Bowman 1934-2006

Carol Bowman (nee Wickman). Beloved wife of Bernard "Buzz'' Bowman Jr. Devoted mother of Lynn Carol Bowman. Dear sister of Mary Belle Hawk, Phyllis Stiles, Robert and the late William, James, Carl, Donald and John Wickman, Myla Bowman and Laura Breining. Also survived by nieces and nephews. May 19, 2006. Age 72. Visitation Monday 6-9 P.M. at the Dennis George Funeral Home, 44 S. Miami, Cleves. Funeral Tuesday 10 A.M. at St. Luke Episcopal Church, 7350 Kirkwood Ln., Cincinnati 45233 (Fernbank). Memorials to St. Luke Episcopal Church.

Carol was a rock in the Westside Action Group on the Lanxess Good Neighbor Campaign -she even passed around petitions at church. She was an incredible woman who always spoke up for what was right.
Apr 17:  Plastics plant to get better air monitors

ADDYSTON -- "State and county officials plan to install extremely sensitive monitoring equipment to measure the quality of air around Lanxess Corp., a plastic manufacturer with a history of releasing toxic gases. Last year, in a response to community concerns about recent releases of chemicals into the air by Lanxess, an air-quality monitor was installed atop Meredith Hitchens Elementary School - across the street from the plant - to collect a 24-hour air sample once every six days," Kimball Perry, Cincinnati Enquirer.
2006 Community Complaints
2006 Accidents
Mar 30:  Ohio EPA to set up new air quality monitors

ADDYSTON -- "The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency will set up new air quality monitors in Addyston around the Lanxess chemical plant because of neighbors' concerns. The agency will set a monitor designed to detect a spike in pollutants on the roof of Hitchens Elementary School.The EPA will have agents collect samples at four other nearby sites, and will set up a monitor inside the Addyston municipal building," WCPO.
Feb 16:  Ohio EPA plans to stop monitoring air at Addyston school

ADDYSTON -- "The Ohio EPA is planning to stop air quality testing at an elementary school located across from a plant that may be producing dangerous emissions... The EPA had kept monitoring sites at the Meredith Hitchens Elementary School across from the Lanxess plant. But because school officials moved students and faculty to another facility, the agency says it was no longer needed," WCPO.
Feb 9: Plant appeals Ohio EPA order
Remains committed to lowering emissions

ADDYSTON-- "Lanxess Corporation has filed an appeal to an order issued by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency in early December... 'We want to be very clear,' says Plant Manager Sandy Marshall. 'Our decision to appeal is not designed to avoid our committment to reduce emissions. While we are currently in compliance with all applicable air emission limits, we are committed to reducing emissions even further, and have been working hard to achieve lower levels." Lanxess Public Advisory Group. 126KB pdf.
Feb 3:  Legal Appeal
Polluter hires ex-EPA director

ADDYSTON -- "Planning to take on the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency? It might help to hire someone who used to work there. Faced with a state order to cut toxic chemicals that leaked from its Addyston plastics plant, Lanxess Corp. of Pittsburgh has hired Chris Jones, who directed the Ohio EPA for six years before he stepped down in January 2005... Jones’ tenure was marked by complaints from environmental advocates who said the EPA worked too closely with big business and ignored pollution. Jones, an attorney, works for a Columbus firm. 'This is exactly what we thought would happen,' said Sandy Buchanan, director of Ohio Citizen Action, which with several Lanxess neighbors began a campaign to draw attention to the plant in July 2004, about six months before Jones left office," Spencer Hunt, Columbus Dispatch. Acces fee; no link.
Jan 24:  Hitchens Elementary shut down
Pollution problem sealed Three Rivers' decision

NORTH BEND -- "The Three Rivers School Board voted Monday to permanently close Meredith Hitchens Elementary School in Addyston because of findings of higher than normal levels of certain air pollutants. Hitchens closed for the school year in December after the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency found higher than acceptable levels of certain chemicals released into the air, presumably by plastics maker Lanxess Corp. across the street. The agency said the pollution posed an elevated risk of cancer and other health problems," Denise Smith Amos, Cincinnati Enquirer.
Jan 19:  Cognis strike having effect on environment
Union hopes talks with new ownership will change things

CINCINNATI -- "Out on the picket line for almost a year now, United Steel workers local 14340 have kept up with what they call environmental and industrial violations. The allegations are enough to get the attention of Ruth Breech and the Cleveland based Ohio Citizen Action group. For months they've investigated and analyzed the Lanxess plant in Addyston and now Cognis is on their watch list. Ohio Citizen Action believes the 2005 strike of the more than 200 steel workers has had a negative community and environmental impact compared to the year before," WXIX.
Jan 18:  Three Rivers delays school closing decision
Awaiting attorneys' reports before picking building to shutter

CLEVES -- "The Three Rivers Local School District Board of Education is awaiting reports from environmental attorneys before deciding which elementary school to close... Making an already difficult decision even more complicated, in early December the district was forced to temporarily close Hitchens for the rest of this school year after the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency ordered the Lanxess Corp., located across the street from Hitchens, to lower emissions of potentially cancer-causing chemicals," Kurt Bachscheider, Community Press.

News from 2005 ,2004