Lanxess Plastics, Addyston

2004 News


Dec 29:  A collection of letters and drawings by young neighbors of Lanxess Plastics

Dec 16:  Lanxess Plastics:
Another accident, another spill of acrylonitrile

Aerial view of Addyston

Lanxess Plastics, just to the right of center, sits on the Ohio River, 15 miles west of Cincinnati. On the other side of the street is the town of Addyston.

ADDYSTON -- "Lanxess neighbors reported foul rotten egg odors from 3:55 PM to after 4:30 PM on Wednesday, December 15. The Lanxess Plastics plant had had another accidental release of acrylontrile. Terry Harris, Environmental Engineer, reported to the Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services that the release may be over 100 lbs and went into the atmosphere. Unlike their large spill of acrylonitrile in October, Lanxess did notify a local public official to give preliminary information. Engineers are still trying to figure out how much of the toxic chemical was released and in what time frame. This is Lanxess' 16th accident since it began 'operating independently' within the Bayer Corporation on July 1, 2004. Nine of the 16 accidents have released toxic chemicals, and three of them have been releases of over 100 lbs of acrylonitrile," Ruth Breech, Ohio Citizen Action, (513) 221-2100.
Dec 11:  Neighbors worry about plant

Odors, pollution raise health questions

Addyston map HEBRON -- "Jean Owens, who lives on Sekitan Street, directly across U.S. 50 from the plant's entrance, said she said she has strong reactions to a distinctive 'sweet' smell. 'It just turns me inside out,' Owens said. 'It's like I can't breathe and I can't move. I do move, but I'm just moving like someone who has something really wrong, like someone with cerebral palsy, or something like that. I can't explain it to you. It's just a horrible feeling, I know that.'. . .

Since July, the plant has increased efforts to track odors that settle in North Bend, Cleves, Sayler Park and northern Boone County. That's when Ohio Citizen Action launched a campaign that its Southwest Ohio coordinator, Ruth Breech, said has prompted people to send several thousand letters to the plant's manager. There are a number of industries along U.S. 50, but the group's top suspect for smells is the Lanxess plant, which reported to Hamilton County it had legally released 1.6 million pounds of particulates and toxic chemicals last year. . . 'I guess ultimately what it comes down to is we want to cut down on the I-don't-knows,' Breech said. 'You're talking about a chemical facility right across from kindergarten, first-graders and preschool kids,'" Mike Rutledge, Dan Klepal, Cincinnati Enquirer.
Dec 7:  Citizens' group not told

Despite meetings, Lanxess didn't mention gas leak

ADDYSTON -- "Ruth Breech of Ohio Citizen Action was encouraged by progress she and neighbors were making with operators of the Lanxess Corp. plastics plant to solve odor and chemical-release issues. But then she learned last week from Hamilton County about a nearly 1,200-pound release of gases Oct. 2-4. 'We've had about five meetings since that October release, about this working relationship, about the communication with the neighbors, letting people know what's going on ... and they didn't say anything about October,' Breech said," Mike Rutledge, Dan Klepal, Cincinnati Enquirer.
Dec 4:  Gas leaked from plant

Addyston plastic firm released 1,200 lbs. during festival

Addyston from the air

Lanxess Plastics on the Ohio River, across the street from Addyston's Oktoberfest celebration.

ADDYSTON -- "A plastic manufacturer in Addyston released nearly 1,200 pounds of a gas classified as a 'probable' cancer-causing agent into the air during the village's Oktoberfest, while hundreds of people celebrated across the street from the plant. . . . [Ruth Breech, Southwest Ohio program director for the environmental group Ohio Citizen Action] learned of the release this week and posted information about it on the organization's Web site. She has been working with the company on odor complaints and found out about the leak after performing a routine check on the company with the county. 'A thousand pounds of a toxic chemical being released is huge,' Breech said. 'If somebody went to the doctor later, they might be thinking it's just the flu. There was no communication there, so people are going on absolutely zero information,'" Dan Klepal, Mike Rutledge, Cincinnati Enquirer.
Dec 2:  Breaking news:
Lanxess spewed a half-ton of toxic acrylonitrile into Addyston's air during OctoberFest

Citizen Action uncovers three-day leak

ADDYSTON -- "On Thanksgiving Day, neighbors in North Bend, 1.5 miles from Lanxess Plastics, reported the 'worst smell ever.' From 12:30 pm and into the night, the smell was so offensive that one neighbor said she 'couldn’t even breathe outside.' The neighbor called Lanxess to complain, but did not receive a return phone call until Monday, Nov 29, 4 days later. The Lanxess representative told her that a "pluggage malfunction" had released styrene into the air.

On November 30, in researching the Thanksgiving Day spill, Ohio Citizen Action discovered that Lanxess had had a much bigger accident in October. A report at the Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services showed that on Saturday, Oct 2, Lanxess personnel discovered that acrylonitrile was leaking into the air. The leak resulted from problems with the collection duct. They decided not to take any action to fix the problem until Monday, when maintenance personnel would be coming into the plant. From Saturday, Oct 2 to Monday, Oct 4, Lanxess leaked 1,122 lbs of acrylonitrile and 34 lbs of butadiene into the air.

This spill occurred during Addyston's OctoberFest, where people were gathered across the street from the plant. Both acrylonitrile and butadiene are cancer causing chemicals. The short term health risks of overexposure to acrylonitrile vapors are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, insomnia, weakness, fatigue, sneezing, shortness of breath, light headedness, mild jaundice, mild anemia, and increased white blood cell count.

Although Lanxess reported the incident to Hamilton County, they did not directly notify any community members or leaders during or after the leak. Even the Mayor of Addyston, who is on the Lanxess Public Advisory Group, was not told. The company did not mention the spill at several subsequent meetings with the neighbors in October," Ruth Breech, Ohio Citizen Action.


Ohio Citizen Action advises Lanxess neighbors who smell foul odors to --
  1. Call Lanxess Plastics (513) 467-2400
  2. Call Ruth Breech at Ohio Citizen Action (513) 221-2100
  3. Call the Hamilton County Dept of Environmental Services 1 (800) 889-0474
Sep 17:  Now available on line:
Lanxess Plastics pollution logs

ADDYSTON -- Neighbors of Lanxess Plastics can now fill out pollution logs on line. This simple but effective tool allows people to gather evidence the polluter cannot deny, Ohio Citizen Action.
Sep 9:  Lanxess Plastics neighbors want questions answered

ADDYSTON -- "Ohio Citizen Action surveyed Addyston and Sayler Park neighbors on June 12 and August 7, 2004, to learn about their experiences living near the Lanxess chemical plant in Addyston. . . . Of the 118 people we spoke with, 89% mentioned having the following problems they had experienced and wanted to know more about in connection with the Bayer plant: cancer; odors; health effects on children; drinking water; plant security; water pollution in Ohio River and Muddy Creek; fumes; noise; water and soil quality; breathing problems; asthma; soot on cars, homes, and boats; industrial accidents and illnesses," Ruth Breech, Southwest Ohio Program Director, Ohio Citizen Action.
Jul 6:  Bayer moves to spin off Addyston plant

CINCINNATI -- "By early next year, Bayer plans to sell or spin-off to shareholders Lanxess, now a wholly owned subsidiary comprised of parts of its polymers and chemicals businesses," Cincinnati Enquirer.
Jul 5:  Bayer looks to over-the-counter medicines for new direction

Bayer Lanxess

Bayer Lanxess Plastics plant on the Ohio River at Addyston.

LONDON, ENGLAND -- "Given that over-the-counter (OTC) drugs still form a key element of its business today, Bayer's ambitions to acquire the OTC business of Swiss rival Roche make some strategic sense. Acquiring the Roche business, which is valued at €1.8 billion - €2.1 billion ($2.2 billion - $2.6 billion) would take Bayer from number five in the global OTC market to third. . . However, that Bayer can no longer easily afford an acquisition of this scale without triggering worries about a credit rating downgrade is testament to the company's reduced scale and financial fire-power. Hit by a trio of challenges -- the withdrawal of key drug Lipobay in 2001, the €7.25 billion acquisition of Aventis's crop science business, and the downturn in the chemicals industry -- Bayer has been forced into major restructuring efforts over the past two years. The main element of these efforts is the carve-out of a large chunk of Bayer's lower-margin chemicals and polymers businesses into a new entity, Lanxess," David Firn, Bettina Wassener, Financial Times.
Jul 1: LANXESS starts operating independently

LEVERKUSEN, GERMANY -- "LANXESS, the future company where the Bayer Group will combine almost all areas of its chemicals business and parts of its polymers activities, began operating as an independent unit on July 1, 2004. For the moment the new structure only applies internally," release, Bayer AG.

ADDYSTON -- New owner for Bayer plant in Addyston, Jon Newberry, Cincinnati Post.