2005 News
Dec 30:  Plant appeals order to reduce pollution
State EPA’s methods flawed, Lanxess says

ADDYSTON -- "Lanxess said the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency used faulty science to conclude that air pollution around the plant, located about 12 miles west of Cincinnati, posed an unacceptable cancer risk to residents. An appeal filed by the company in Columbus also argues that the state lacks the authority to order Lanxess to reduce it. 'They overstated the risk and they overstepped their bounds,' said Alexander 'Sandy' Marshall, Lanxess plant manager... Marshall said the company still plans to spend the $2.5 million to reduce leaks at the plant. He said the company’s appeal is focused solely on the EPA’s methods and its conclusions," Spencer Hunt, Columbus Dispatch. Access fee; no link.

ADDYSTON -- Plastic maker fights cancer risk findings, "'What we really take exception to is the fact that we were working on these things when OEPA came in and ordered us to do them,' plant manager Sandy Marshall said," Dan Klepal, Cincinnati Enquirer.

ADDYSTON -- Plastics plant disputes health concerns over chemical emissions, Akron Beacon Journal.
Dec 22:  Lanxess writes letter to Tri-State

ADDYSTON -- "An Addyston plant at the center of an air quality controversy says it's taking the public's concerns seriously. Lanxess Chemical Company wrote an open letter to the public in Thursday's Enquirer. In the letter, Lanxess maintains it's taking the appropriate measures to ensure no dangerous chemicals are released from the plant on U.S. 50. Earlier this month the EPA closed Hitchens Elementary School across the street from the plant after finding high levels of chemicals in the air," Mark Sickmiller, WCPO.
Dec 16: Ohio Valley's risky air affecting us all

CINCINNATI -- "Ohio wheezingly leads the nation in neighborhoods with the most health risks from industrial air pollution - 26 out of the worst 200 nationwide. Kentucky ranks 12th worst. As if to prove the point in Ohio, Meredith Hitchens Elementary School in Addyston just downriver from Cincinnati had to be closed last week because of dangerous air. Ohio EPA determined that Addyston residents faced a 50 times greater risk of cancer from chemicals released from Lanxess' giant plastics plant directly across the street from the school. But the experts still say they lack definitive studies of short-term and long-term effects from many chemicals belched out of industrial plants," editorial, Cincinnati Enquirer.
Dec 15: Merideth Hitchens School toxic

ADDYSTON -- "A Cincinnati area elementary school has temporarily closed due to toxic emissions from a nearby plastics plant," Cheri Lawson, WMUB.
Dec 12: UPDATE:
Addyston chemical plant closes school

ADDYSTON -- "On Monday, Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune said he's upset that local officials didn't take action earlier, when they knew about the problem. He says, instead, officials waited until the state took action. Last week, air monitoring machines on a nearby school indicated dangerous levels of two hazardous chemicals. Officials said the chemicals would only cause health risks if people were exposed for 30-70 years," Bill Price, WCPO.

ADDYSTON -- Portune upset with Lanxess monitoring, Kimball Perry, Cincinnati Enquirer.
Dec 11: Hitchens will stay shuttered
200 attend Addyston meeting on plant's emissions

ADDYSTON -- "Lanxess plant manager Sandy Marshall outlined the steps the company has taken, and is in the process of taking, to try to reduce emissions. The company is investing $1.3 million in a computer system that will help eliminate accidental releases, like the three that happened between October 2004 and February, which spewed thousands of pounds of toxic chemicals into the air. Another $1 million is earmarked to improve the plant's flare system - an investment that he said should eliminate the fumes OEPA is concerned about. The three accidental releases prompted Ohio Citizen Action to start a publicity campaign against the company, which eventually led to the OEPA air study. 'By us going beyond the (legal requirements), we hope we can get your trust back,'" Marshall said," Dan Klepal, Cincinnati Enquirer.
Dec 10:  Toxic fumes force Tri-state school to remain closed

ADDYSTON -- "'This plant has a been there for 52-years, where has the Ohio EPA been for 52-years?,' asked one concerned citizen. Addyston Mayor Dan Pillow was the first to bring his frustrations into the open. Arguing that the Ohio EPA should have been testing air around the Lanxess plant long before now, and now that information has been gathered, the EPA should have told village officials first. 'We got hit with a bombshell and we got all this different type of information,' said Addyston's mayor," Becky Fremal, WCPO.
Dec 9:  Meeting to be held on Saturday morning:
Qustions to ask about the Hitchens school closing

ADDYSTON -- "The air monitoring at Hitchens was set up as a response to the Lanxess "good neighbor campaign" conducted by Ohio Citizen Action and the Westside Action Group since July 2004. Throughout the campaign, parents and residents have been asking questions about the safety of the children at the elementary school, and many have urged that the school be closed permanently. Ohio EPA will be in Addyston on Saturday, December 10 at 9 am at a public meeting to talk about their report. Members of the school board and administrators will also be at the meeting, which, ironically, is being held at Hitchens," Ruth Breech, Ohio Citizen Action.

ADDYSTON -- Addyston cancer rates to be studied, State cluster review comes after Lanxess findings, Dan Klepal, Cincinnati Enquirer.
Dec 7:  Polluted Ohio River town left to deal with school daze

ADDYSTON -- "The Three Rivers Local School District decided to move all 387 Meredith Hitchens preschoolers, kindergartners and first-graders to other schools today after the EPA on Monday said pollution from the nearby Lanxess plastics factory poses a cancer risk to long-term residents. The agency, which plans to check pollution levels inside the school’s classrooms within the next two weeks, estimates that one in every 2,000 people who lives or had lived in the area for 30 to 70 years has a higher cancer risk," Spencer Hunt, Columbus Dispatch. Access fee; no link.

ADDYSTON -- School closing in Addyston 'sorrowful' Proud staff packs up as Ohio EPA monitors air at plastics plant, Dan Klepal, Cincinnati Enquirer.
Dec 6:  Polluted air prompts town to close school

ADDYSTON -- "An elementary school in a small town on the Ohio River, just west of Cincinnati, is closed today after the state confirmed that the air is polluted with toxic chemicals... 'We take our responsibilities very seriously, to make sure that the plant is safe for our employees and the surrounding area,' (plant manager Sandy) Marshall said. 'We announced $2.5 million in improvements before we were asked.' The improvements were announced after complaints from an organized group of residents backed by Ohio Citizen Action, an environmental group. Ruth Breech, Citizen Action’s Cincinnati-area program director, said she and other area residents thought Lanxess was working to solve its problems before the EPA made its announcement. Residents’ 'intuition was saying that something was wrong here,' Breech said. 'There were no eloquent numbers or science behind it, but they already knew it,'" Spencer Hunt, Columbus Dispatch. Access fee; no link.

ADDYSTON -- Cancer risk closes Addyston school, Dan Klepal and Denise Smith Amos, Cincinnati Enquirer.

ADDYSTON -- School Near Controversial Chemical Plant Closes, Jay Warren, WCPO.

  • Ohio EPA's unilateral order issued to Lanxess
  • Ohio EPA's risk assessment report
  • Dec 1:  Air emission reductions continue
    Plans end Ohio Citizen Action public pressure campaign

    ADDYSTON -- "The Lanxess plant in Addyston has announced plans to invest $1 million to further reduce air emissions by 2006. The project will focus on improving the plant's flare, which controls emissions of butadiene, one of the three main chemicals used at the plant. This project is part of a new initiative by the company to 'go beyond compliance' in improving its environmental performance... As a result of this announcement, Ohio Citizen Action ended the public pressure of its 'good neighbor' campaign. OCA has targeted the plant since July 2004, directing thousands of citizens all across Ohio to write letters to the plant manager. The group will continue to work with the plant and monitor progress," Lanxess Public Advisory Group. 171KB pdf.
    Nov 4:  Might not want to drink the water...

    ADDYSTON -- "The Bush Administration wants to ease regulations requiring businesses to disclose the chemicals they use. Something about 'too much paperwork.' As Eric Niiler reports, some members of an Ohio River community beg to differ," Eric Niiler, Marketplace, American Public Media. (4 minutes, 23 seconds)
    Transcript
    Nov 2:  Emotional debate on school fate
    Residents split on Hitchens

    ADDYSTON -- "An overflow crowd of parents and community residents debated whether to close Meredith Hitchens, an elementary in the Three Rivers School District that is across the street from a chemical plant... At least one parent choked back tears as she described how she loves Meredith Hitchens, which has about 365 children in prekindergarten through first grade, but is worried about accidental chemical emissions from the Lanxess Corp. plant," Denise Smith Amos, Cincinnati Enquirer.
    Oct 30:  Three Rivers Schools consider closures
    Some parents eager to shutter Hitchens

    MIAMI TOWNSHIP -- "The monitor atop Hitchens, installed in May, has recorded an average butadiene level at 3.5 parts per billion - about eight times what's been recorded in other areas around Cincinnati but far below levels of immediate danger... A second monitor is set to alert authorities if chemical concentrations reach 10 parts per million - or 10,000 parts per billion. At that emergency level, an adult would feel watering of the eyes and a sore throat after an hour's exposure, Kramer said. ' I think the school is awesome,' said Diana Osborne, a Hitchens parent who lives in Cleves. 'But when my little girl comes home and says, 'Mom, it smelled in my room today,' that concerns me,'" Denise Smith Amos, Cincinnati Enquirer.

    Oct 16:  Bucket brigades celebrate
    Effort to fight air pollution began its work 10 years ago

    CINCINNATI -- "Earlier this year, a group of concerned citizens started using the buckets to make a case against Lanxess Corp., an Addyston plastic maker that had a series of chemical releases. The data from the buckets helped prove pollution concerns went beyond the occasional accidental leak. The routine, daily emissions from the plant also contained levels of toxins that people said were making them sick. Lanxess announced last month that it will invest $1 million in pollution control equipment in the plant. Ruth Breech, southwest organizer for Ohio Citizen Action, which led the public campaign against Lanxess, said the weekend has been an inspiration. 'This is just an incredible group of people committed to cleaning up neighborhoods," she said,'" Dan Klepal, Cincinnati Enquirer.

    Oct 10:  Lanxess buys equipment to control its toxic fumes

    ADDYSTON -- "Lanxess Corp., a manufacturer of synthetic rubber and plastics, is investing $1 million in equipment to help it control the release of toxic fumes from its plant here. Those investments have led Ohio Citizen Action to suspend its campaign against the plant. Southwest Ohio coordinator Ruth Breech said a change in plant management showed her the company was serious about changes. 'We asked them to show leadership, and that's exactly what they've done,' Breech said. Marshall said the company will continue meeting with citizens and public officials. 'Certainly, we're happy Ohio Citizen Action has taken this approach. We see it as recognition of the things we've done,' Marshall said. 'We need to make sure we implement everything we've promised,'" Dan Klepal, Cincinnati Enquirer.
    Oct 6:  Addyston plant update

    ADDYSTON -- "An Addyston chemical plant has announced yet another big investment to improve air quality... As a result, the group Ohio Citizen Action is calling off its campaign against the plant, saying it's accomplished its goals... 'The investments are going on ove rthe next year. The being pashed part will be done the first part of next year. The last million dollar investment project won't be complete for up to one year from now. This is part of our ongoing program to reduce our impact on the environment and continue to work to be a good neighbor,' said Sandy Marshall, Lanxess Site Manager," Hagit Lamor, WCPO.

    Oct 3:  Citizen Action

    ADDYSTON -- "The Lanxess Corp. announced plans to spend $1 million to upgrade environmental controls at the plastics plant it operates just off U.S. 50 in Addyston. This on top of previous announcements of plans by the German-owned firm to spend $1.3 million on new manufacturing process controls and $130,000 to reduce odor from the plant. The story behind the story is that Ohio Citizen Action, a statewide organization whose interests include environmental protection, had for 15 months been conducting a door-to-door campaign triggered by complaints that the plant was periodically releasing butadiene and other chemicals," editorial, Robert White, Cincinnati Post.

    Sep 26:  Lanxess plant manager commits $1 million to prevent butadiene emissions

    ADDYSTON -- "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," Ruth Breech, Ohio Citizen Action.
    Lanxess press release

    Sep 24:  $1M upgrade for Addyston plant

    ADDYSTON -- "Lanxess Corp. plans to invest another $1 million at its plastic resins plant in Addyston as part of an environmental performance initiative announced this week. The commitment is intended to surpass current compliance standards, improve air quality, and upgrade communications with the Addyston community, the company said in a statement. Ohio Citizen Action, an environmental activist group that has been waging a door-to-door campaign for the past 15 months calling for changes at Lanxess, ended that campaign on Friday as a result of the company's actions this week. Ruth Breech, Ohio Citizen Action's local spokeswoman, said Lanxess has committed to do what the group has been calling for, which is to focus on accident prevention to keep harmful chemicals out of the air. 'They've responded, and they've responded well,' Breech said. 'This is the most significant action they've taken to date,'" Jon Newberry, Cincinnati Post.

    Sep 19:  Plant manager leaves community hanging
    Neighbors still waiting for answers



    ADDYSTON -- "Neighbors of the Lanxess plastics plant met with new plant manager Sandy Marshall on Wednesday, September 14. Neighbors continued to ask questions about chemical releases and odors. Since Marshall took over the Lanxess plant on July 14, neighbors have registered complaints with the Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services about eleven separate incidents of chemical odors. Neighbors agreed that the odors have increased in the last two weeks. Lynn Bowman, Addyston resident, commented, 'I've probably smelled chemical odors ten out of the past fourteen days.' Lanxess has also had seven accidents releasing 179 lbs. of toxic chemical waste into the air since July 14. Sick neighbors want to know when the chemical releases and odors will stop," Ruth Breech, Ohio Citizen Action.

    Sep 7:  Lanxess neighbors are wondering when the accidents will stop

    ADDYSTON -- "Addyston had a malfunction on 9/2/05 at 6:46 am on the main duct air
    pollution control system. It appears a meter that measures organics inside the duct malfunctioned and vented the main duct to the atmosphere. The process safety equipment immediately shut down building 10's process. The investigation, corrective action, and repair took 41 minutes and the main duct was back on line. An estimated 84 lbs of VOC emissions were released to the atmosphere (53 lbs styrene, 30 lbs acrylonitrile, and 1 butadiene). Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services, the Mayor of Addyston, and Hitchens school were notified. The incident is being investigated. If there are questions contact Duane Day at 513-467-2217," Lanxess Public Advisory Group.
    Sep 1:  Chief: Lanxess has 'long way to go'

    PITTSBURGH, PA -- "The chief executive of Lanxess AG touted the new chemical company's initial success -- an 11 percent increase in second-quarter sales, a 40 percent jump in pre-tax profits and a higher stock price -- during a visit yesterday to its North American headquarters in suburban Findlay. But Axel Claus Heitmann said he would not ease up on his drive to improve the results of the Germany-based global enterprise that was spun out of Germany's Bayer in January and formed mainly around inherited low-growth and low-margin businesses... 'All in all, it has been a great success getting out of Bayer, building a new brand and a new identity, a new culture,' Heitmann said in an interview before addressing the local staff. 'I'm very pleased to say we are doing well. We are already making significant progress,' but, 'Lanxess still has a long way to go,'" Jim McKay, Post-Gazette.

    Aug 26:  Addyston plant spared Lanxess cuts



    ADDYSTON -- "Lanxess Corp. is closing three U.S. manufacturing plants as part of a global restructuring, but the consolidation hasn't affected its Addyston plastics plant so far, the company said...Lanxess last month announced top-level management changes and a $1.3 million investment in new process controls in Addyston. It has also recently completed a wastewater treatment project intended to reduce odors from the plant along the Ohio River, it said. Lanxess's operations in Addyston came under fire earlier this year from Ohio Citizen Action, an environmental activist group, which complained about plant emissions and odors. It had called for new management at the facility," Jon Newbury, Cincinnati Post.
    Aug 18:  Lanxess neighbors meet with new plant manager


    ADDYSTON -- "A dozen neighbors of Lanxess plastics met with Sandy Marshall, the new plant manager on August 16. Neighbors discussed the community standard that they have set, and explained to Marshall what it is like living across from a chemical plant. Neighbors are asking the plant to prevent emissions of chemicals that cause cancer, meet community standards, establish a working relationship with the community to open lines of communication in the event of future problems, and make permanent changes at its facility. 'Being able to sit on our porch and smell the grass or the rose bushes or whatever…that's all we want and that's what we're asking for,' said Lynn Bowman, a Lanxess neighbor," Ruth Breech, Ohio Citizen Action.

    Jul 20:  New accident at Lanxess

    ADDYSTON -- "A break in a line at the Lanxess Plastics Plant in Addyston yesterday caused a spill of 225 pounds of bleach into a gravel area at the plant. Sandy Marshall, the new plant manager, notified Ohio Citizen Action and the public advisory group. Marshall said an investigation is underway to determine what caused the line to break. This accident is evidence that Lanxess' new management has their work cut out for them: it's time to take a whole new approach to safety and accident prevention," Ruth Breech, Ohio Citizen Action.

    Jul 15:  Addyston plant is revamping
    Steps to thwart more releases of toxic gases at plastics operation

    ADDYSTON -- "Lanxess Corp. is making improvements at its plastics manufacturing plant aiming to prevent future toxic gas releases. The company had three toxic releases since October 2004. Although no one was sickened in the accidents, thousands of pounds of chemicals - some thought by state and federal health officials to be cancer-causing - were released into the atmosphere...The company also announced new management at the plant. That's something that Ohio Citizen Action and many residents who live near the plant have been asking for. Ruth Breech, Southwest coordinator for Ohio Citizen Action, said she is 'cautiously optimistic. It definitely shows they're ready to put the personnel and money into this plant,' Breech said. 'That's really good for the company and the community. We're on our way,'" Dan Klepal, Cincinnati Enquirer.

    ADDYSTON -- Lanxess spending $1.5M on pollution control, Cincinnati Business Courier.
    Jul 14:  Addyston Plant Update

    ADDYSTON -- "There was some shocking news at a local chemical plant on Thursday. The top managers are being replaced...The environmental group Ohio Citizen Action called for these resignations. But the company's senior vice president says that's not what led to the moves. Still he acknowledged the company's commitment to neighbors. 'As a plant you are living in the community and you're living with a community, and we'll do everything to further develop the relationship with the community, and I'm pretty sure the new management will pick up the path which was set by the previous management to hopefully develop it even further,' said Dr. Hans-Joachim Kogelnik, the Lanxess Senior Vice President. Ohio Citizen Action tells us neighbors welcome this move, viewing it as a positive step, and that they're 'ready to move forward together to resolve the issues at the plant,'" Hagit Lamor, WCPO.

    ADDYSTON -- Lanxess takes steps to restructure, news release, Lanxess Corporation, 315 kb doc.
    Jul 11:  Chemical Plant Update

    ADDYSTON -- "In a I-Team report aired in May it was reported that Lanxess, a chemical company in Addyston, had three major releases last year and again early this year. Now a spokesperson tells the I-Team that the company is about to announce a new improvement project that should prevent the problem that led to one of those releases. It's a major investment, he says, that will replace manual technology with a computerized system. Also in May the I-Team reported that Lanxess was about to put on-line a new odor control system. It went on-line in June and the citizens action group that has been monitoring Lanxess says the sewage/rotten egg odor has decreased -- though some of the odors are still around, especially during the middle of the night," Hagit Lamor, WCPO.
    Jul 8:  Parents right to know
    Questions for the Three Rivers Schools' administration and board

    ADDYSTON -- "As voters consider the levy on August 2, 2005, you have the right to know the answers to these questions. Why didn't the school board and administration tell all the parents why the water was turned off at Meredith Hitchens Elementary School this spring? Why was the water turned off? Who, including both public officials and others, was involved in the discussions leading to the decision to shut the water off? Why did school board and administration threaten truancy to a mother who is concerned about the health and safety of her children at Meredith Hitchens? Why did you refuse transfers? Under what circumstances would you decide to keep Hitchens open? How are you determining that Hitchens should be open for 2005-2006? How did you document health complaints from children in 2004-2005? , Ruth Breech, Ohio Citizen Action.
    •  Answers will be posted as soon as they are received from Three Rivers Schools' administration and board. The next school board meeting is Monday, July 11 at 7:30p.m., Taylor High School.
    Jun 24:  Mayor Pillow letter to Lanxess splits Addyston Council

    ADDYSTON -- "My name is Dan Pillow. I am the Mayor of the Village of Addyston. I am writing you on behalf of the undersigned Council Members who are the official representatives of the Village. I am sure that you are abreast of the on going controversy as the health and safety of our citizens as it pertains to your Addyston facility. As you know this plant has operated in our Village for some fifty (50) years. I can assure you beyond any doubt that across the board things are much better now than they have ever been and are getting better. They are a good neighbor," Addyston Mayor Dan Pillow and three of five Councilmembers, letter to Axel Claus Heitmann, CEO, Lanxess Corporation, June 13, 2005.
    • We're sure that Mayor Pillow did not mean to imply that the two Councilmembers who refused to sign the letter were not also official representatives of the Village.
    ADDYSTON -- 2005 year-to-date malfunctions, chart, Lanxess Corporation.

    ADDYSTON -- Working to address community concerns, flyer, Lanxess Corporation.
    Jun 23:  20,000 member letters to Lanxess: Here are some of the people who helped make it happen

    Cincinnati field staff

    The Southwest Ohio Citizen Action staff: Front row -- Toni Brock, Brandon Koebbe, Liz Floydd, Sarah Grutza. Table -- Ruth Breech, Alison Bake, Mariel Frankl, Hannah Sayre. Back row: Crystal Cottrill, Vanessa Kruse, Erin Teslie, Drew Chestnut, Laura Hornsby, Nate McNeil, Danny Berchenko, Daniel Kirllov, Dianna Strassburg, Rachael Belz, Heather Sayre.
    Jun 21:  Southwest Ohio Citizen Action members write 20,111 letters to Lanxess



    ADDYSTON -- "My aunt lives by your company and every time I go down to her house I have to smell your building. Boy, do I feel sorry for the people who live down there," Lindsay, Cincinnati area resident.
    Jun 10:  Lanxess gets official notice on 2 discharges
    County says gas releases could result in $25K fines

    ADDYSTON -- "Hamilton County has put Lanxess Corp. on notice that two recent releases of toxic gases have violated state nuisance rules, a finding that could result in fines of up to $25,000 per incident against the plastic maker. Many concerned residents have been working with company officials for the past year to resolve what they say are persistent odors in the neighborhood that often lead to headaches, watery eyes and sore throats. Most recently, the citizens - along with officials with Ohio Citizen Action - have asked the company to buy a $35,000 real-time air monitor that will constantly take samples. Hamilton County recently installed an air monitor atop a nearby elementary school, but that device takes samples only every six days. Ruth Breech, a regional coordinator for Ohio Citizen Action, said she believes the company deserves a fine," Dan Klepal, Cincinnati Enquirer.
    Jun 8:  Plant asked to curb emissions; Air around Lanxess tested for toxins

    ADDYSTON -- "An environmental group is calling on an Addyston plastics plant to change management and curb emissions to better protect neighbors, including a nearby elementary school, from what the group claims is noxious fallout. Ohio Citizen Action said it tested air around Meredith Hitchens Elementary School May 14 because of community complaints about emissions from the Lanxess Plastics plant, across U.S. 50 and about 1,500 feet from the school. The group said the level of one toxic -- butadiene -- exceeded what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers safe," Molly Linn, Cincinnati Post.

    ADDYSTON -- Plastic maker questions monitor test, Dan Klepal, Cincinnati Enquirer.

    Jun 7:  Air monitor near elementary school finds high levels of toxic chemicals from Lanxess



    ADDYSTON -- "Ohio Citizen Action today released results from real-time monitoring samples taken on May 14 in front of Meredith Hitchens Elementary School, across the street from Lanxess Plastics. The monitoring found high levels of the toxic chemical 1, 3 butadiene, a chemical routinely released by Lanxess Plastics, in the air. Ruth Breech, Southwest Ohio Program Director for Ohio Citizen Action said, 'Neighbors have said all along that they believe these chemical emissions are crossing the fenceline at potentially dangerous levels, and now we have proof. If we could find these levels of chemicals in the air in a one-hour sample taken on a random day, these results raise important questions about the amounts of toxic chemicals that this plant is releasing every day,'" press release, Ohio Citizen Action.

    Jun 4:  Media advisory
    Real-time air monitoring results to be released

    Who: Press conference with Westside neighbors, Ohio Citizen Action
    When: 10 a.m., Tuesday, June 7, 2005
    Where: In front of VFW Hall, Main Street, Addyston
    What: Results of real-time air monitoring at Lanxess Plastics fenceline

    Hilton Kelley of the National Bucket Brigade Coalition brought a CEREX "Hound" real time air monitor to Cincinnati on Saturday, May 14, and monitored the air across the street from Lanxess Plastics. Mr. Kelley's trip to Ohio from Texas was sponsored by Ohio Citizen Action. The CEREX monitoring tests found levels of toxic chemicals in the air at significantly higher levels than had been detected by other sampling equipment. The results have been quality-controlled and analyzed and will be released at the press conference. The CEREX equipment is more sensitive and advanced than equipment currently used by the city, county, or Ohio EPA," press advisory, Ruth Breech, Ohio Citizen Action, (513) 221-2100.

    Jun 3:  Majority of Addyston residents call for replacing Lanxess plant manager

    ADDYSTON -- "Fifty-four percent of the adult residents of Addyston, (425 of the 792 adults registered in the 2000 U.S. Census) have signed a petition calling on Lanxess CEO Axel Heitmann to replace the local plant management. The petition said: 'Lanxess has not made necessary changes in its operations to prevent accidents and increase safety. It is time for the company to take badly needed action by replacing the present management with leaders who will solve these problems. The Lanxess Corporation must provide this new management with the necessary financial resources to run a safe, accident-free facility and restore good faith with its neighbors.' Two hundred and forty-seven residents in North Bend and Cleves also signed the petitions, which have been mailed to Heitmann at Lanxess headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany," (21 KB doc), Ohio Citizen Action.

    KWAZULU-NATAL PROVINCE, SOUTH AFRICA -- Pipelines to be replaced in polluted area. "The replacement of domestic water pipelines by the eThekwini municipality follows mounting concern among residents that the city and German multinational Bayer/Lanxess have kept them in the dark about the full risks to their health. This followed the discovery of extensive chemical contamination of soil and groundwater around the Bayer group factory in Tomango Road," Tony Carnie, KwaZulu-Natal Mercury.

    Jun 1:  Commissioner Calls For New Monitors

    ADDYSTON -- "A Hamilton County commissioner is calling on a local chemical plant to take more action to protect residents. Todd Portune says the county and the state -- and the plant -- haven't done enough to protect neighbors from potential health risks. Portune wants new air monitors around the plant -- the kind that gives results immediately -- and he wants Lanxess to pay for them. Until now the data the Ohio EPA and the county environmental services have used has come from Lanxess. The plant had three major releases of chemicals in the air this fall through this spring. After our first report we showed you as the county installing a new monitor at the elementary school across the street from the plant. But results from that monitor take two weeks to come in. [Todd Portune]: 'I don't think that's adequate at all. To read something two weeks down the road does nobody any good,'" Hagit Limor, WCPO Cincinnati.

    May 25:  May odor calendar:
    Lanxess routine odors and emissions out of control

    May calendarADDYSTON -- "So far, neighbors of Lanxess plant have documented 15 odor complaints in Addyston and surrounding communities in the month of May. These include eleven complaints of a strange chemical odor that causes headaches, eye, nose and throat irritation. Residents took air samples on two of the days in May when odors from the plant were particularly bad. A SUMMA air canister sample taken on May 6, 2005 showed 85 parts-per-billion of butadiene in the air. Neighbors are awaiting results from a SUMMA air sample and the official report for the CEREX real time air monitor taken on May 14," Ruth Breech, Southwest Ohio Program Director, Ohio Citizen Action.
    May 24:  Study: Lanxess releases not a risk

    ADDYSTON -- "The three chemical releases from plastic maker Lanxess Inc. over six months did not pose a significant health risk to nearby residents, according to a study by the Ohio Department of Health. The study based its findings on computer modeling, and found that only a Dec. 15 release of acrylonitrile rose to the level of potentially causing headaches, sore throat or watery eyes. Acrylonitrile is considered an "extremely hazardous substance" and a potential cancer-causing agent by the Department of Health. Ruth Breech, southwest coordinator for Ohio Citizen Action, said the study is suspect because all of the data came from the company," Dan Klepal, Cincinnati Enquirer.

    ADDYSTON -- May 23: Chemical Plant Update, Hagit Limor, WCPO Cincinnati.
    May 19:  Lanxess Plastics neighbors find high levels of 1,3-butadiene in front yard

    CLEVELAND -- "On Friday, May 6 around 10 pm North Bend neighbors saw a haze in the air and smelled a strong odor of burnt plastic. This odor made their eyes water and noses burn. One family had guests over, and they were all overwhelmed by the odor. North Bend is about 1.5 miles from Lanxess Plastics. During this time, a neighbor took a SUMMA canister air sample, which she gave to the Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services for analysis by DataChem labs on Glendale Milford Road. The lab returned the results to the resident on Tuesday, May 17. The sample showed 1,3 butadiene at 85 parts per billion," Ruth Breech, Southwest Ohio Program Director, Ohio Citizen Action.
    May 13 - 14:  Addyston demonstration of CEREX UV Hound air monitor finds 1,3-butadiene, nitrogen oxide and toluene

    Addyston demonstration

    Hilton Kelley shows how the air monitor displays results. Photo by Kathy Blandford.

    ADDYSTON -- "Community leader Hilton Kelley from Port Arthur, Texas, brought a state-of-the-art air pollution monitor to Addyston, Ohio, to test the air near the Lanxess Plastics plant. On Saturday morning, May 14, the monitor found a consistent level of 1,3 butadiene, nitrogen oxide and toluene. The EPA-certified monitor, called the CEREX UV Hound, was designed at MIT and manufactured by Cerex Environmental Services in Atlanta. Neither Lanxess nor the Ohio EPA have anything comparable. Hilton Kelley is Executive Director of Community In-power and Development Association (CIDA) in Port Arthur, Field Coordinator of the Refinery Reform Campaign and Chairperson of the National Bucket Brigade Coalition," Ohio Citizen Action.
    May 12:  Air tests find toxic chemicals near Lanxess Plant; Odors tipped neighbors off

    April calendarADDYSTON -- "Neighbors of the Lanxess Plastics Plant in Addyston have long suspected that the odors coming from the plant don't only constitute a nuisance, but may also signal the release of chemicals that can be harmful to human health. Three weeks ago, neighbors took matters into their own hands and tested air emissions coming from the plant during an evening where the odors were strong. The results of these tests show that the neighbors were right: toxic chemicals, regularly released by the Lanxess Plant, were present in the air directly across the street from the plant," Ruth Breech, Southwest Ohio Program Director, Ohio Citizen Action. ADDYSTON -- Calendar of Lanxess odors in April, Ruth Breech, Southwest Ohio Program Director, Ohio Citizen Action.
    May 9:  Addyston plant could lose jobs
    Lanxess Corp. says it's cutting workers, but ax might fall mainly in Europe

    ADDYSTON -- "The German parent of Addyston's largest employer announced a major restructuring in late April. Lanxess Corp. wants to eliminate up to 1,200 jobs worldwide, roughly 6 percent of its total work force. Addyston is the North American headquarters of Lanxess' styrenics division. The company's U.S. headquarters is in Pittsburgh. A spokesman there said the restructuring is 'focused on Europe,' but couldn't say whether a plant closing there would lead to production changes in Addyston. Lanxess' styrenics unit has a big presence locally, generating more than $300,000 in annual income-tax revenue for the village of Addyston. The plant has reduced employment by more than 150 in the last six years and now employs 418, according to records maintained by the Hamilton County Economic Development Co. HCDC administers a 10-year tax abatement deal with the plant that started in 1998," Dan Monk, Cincinnati Business Courier.
    May 6:  Air being checked next to Lanxess; Monitor installed on school roof

    Air monitor
    Bill Kaldy (left) and Seth Clouran, who work for Hamilton County, install an air monitor on the roof of Meredith Hitchens Elementary School in Addyston. The Lanxess plant is across the street (Photo by Tony Tribble).
    ADDYSTON -- "The county's air quality watchdog installed an air monitor on the roof of Meredith Hitchens Elementary School Thursday that will take random samples every 12 days. Lanxess Corp., a plastic maker across the street from the school, has had three major releases of suspected cancer-causing gases since October. The monitor will tell county officials how much of the chemicals are always in the air, and they can compare those readings to those from monitors in other neighborhoods with a lot of industry: Winton Place, Lower Price Hill and Carthage. Brad Miller, a supervisor in the county's permits and enforcement section, said about six months of readings will be taken before the state Environmental Protection Agency and health department study them to determine whether there are health risks to residents.. . . Ruth Breech, of Ohio Citizen Action, said the monitor is nice, but the village desperately needs a real-time monitor that can tell officials how much of the chemicals residents breathe during an accident. 'This is helpful in telling us what people are exposed to daily,' Breech said. 'But it can't replace a real-time monitor,'" Dan Klepal, Cincinnati Enquirer.
    May 5:  Chemical plant in Tri-state neighborhood

    Softball game in Addyston
    Softball next to Lanxess in Addyston
    ADDYSTON -- "These neighbors, from Bridgetown to Cleves to North Bend and beyond, have banded together in community meetings, after a series of accidents at the plant. Since October, three major releases of chemicals out its stacks, and in the last year dozens of other problems that violated the plant's permits. . . neighbors are worried about more releases, as they made clear when [Lanxess Vice President Jay] Richey tried to address their group:
    Neighbor: 'This is unacceptable in our community.'
    Jay Richey: 'We will work with you to resolve the problems.'
    Ruth Breech, Ohio Citizen Action: 'You guys have said that before.'
    Neighbor: 'I’ve heard an awful lot about these equipment malfunctions. I have an '84 Chevy that breaks down less than this,'" Hagit Limor, WCPO TV-9 Cincinnati, transcript, video, photos, editorials by Ohio Citizen Action and Lanxess.
    May 4:  New growth...new challenges for Addyston

    CINCINNATI -- "Most of us know in recent months Lanxess has come under extreme scrutiny regarding environmental emissions as a result of a group called Ohio Citizens Action. I appreciate the fact that they have taken a look and told us what they've found. Though sometimes smelly, though sometimes noisy, though sometimes a little ominous, we have coexisted for nearly 50 years...Do they have problems? Yes they do. Yes they have had and, yes, they will have. It is inherent in any industry where man and machine are involved that accidents occur," editorial, Dan Pillow, Western Hills Press.
    May 4:  WCPO TV-9 I Team:
    Coming up Wednesday at 11:00 PM

    CINCINNATI -- "Hagit Limor takes you inside a chemical plant...right across the street from an elementary school! Neighbors are worried after three major releases since October plus dozens of other permit violations. What does the plant have to say? And what is the county -- which is supposed to protect you -- doing about this?" promo, WCPO TV-9 Cincinnati.
    Apr 26:  City can't control chemical odors
    Clean air rule not enforceable

    CINCINNATI -- "The two chemical plants that generate the most complaints under Cincinnati's year-old air quality ordinance aren't actually within the city limits, local environmental regulators said Monday. The jurisdictional lines make it all but impossible for the city to enforce its clean air ordinance against Cognis Corp., which has operations in St. Bernard, and the Lanxess plant in Addyston, officials said. 'One of the biggest challenges that we have is the geographical borders - city, county or state lines. Pollution doesn't know those boundaries,' said Ruth Breech, southwest Ohio program director for the environmental group Ohio Citizen Action. At Lanxess, the Addyston plant formerly operated under the Monsanto and Bayer banners, the emissions may be more hazardous. Ohio Citizen Action has collected air samples that went to a California lab last Wednesday, and the Department of Environmental Services put the company on notice April 8 that it violates state air pollution laws in three incidents since October," Gregory Korte, Cincinnati Enquirer.

    LEVERKUSEN, GERMANY -- Lanxess reports reduced loss in 2004. "Chemical company Lanxess AG announced Tuesday that it narrowed its net loss last year and said it was preparing a restructuring drive that might include up to 1,200 job cuts. . . Board Chairman Axel Heitmann said in a statement. 'This situation compels us to make fundamental changes in order to safeguard Lanxess' long-term competitiveness.' He singled out the company's fine chemicals and styrenic resins units and said that as many as 1,200 jobs could be eliminated at a savings of at least 100 million euros ($129.66 million). Lanxess currently employs some 20,000 people. The company said it was examining whether to concentrate production of its styrenic resins at one plant, possibly closing either a plant in Dormagen, Germany, or Tarragona, Spain. A decision is expected by June," Associated Press.
    • Heitmann's exact words were as follows: "The solution for LANXESS is to concentrate its European styrenics volume in one place -– either Dormagen or Tarragona. That’s why we are currently making a final analysis of both sites. The results are not yet in, but one thing is certain: only one site can survive. Our aim is to take a final decision as soon as possible. We would like to do this in the second quarter, preferably in May." He did not comment on styrene operations in the United States, which includes the Addyston plant.
    Apr 18:  Another reason to replace plant management:
    Lanxess odors persist

    Odor calendarADDYSTON -- "Neighbors of Lanxess Plastics are keeping pollution logs, documenting odors and pollution at Lanxess. In the month of March, neighbors reported odors coming from the plant on 16 different days, including an odor in the early morning hours of March 18. This chemical odor woke one Sayler Park resident in the middle of the night. When the resident went outside to investigate the smell, she commented that the odor was so strong that it 'strangled' her breathing. There have already been seven odor complaints in April 2005. Neighbors have noticed an increase in chemical and burnt plastic smells in the area. Although Lanxess decided to work on the sewage smell coming from their wastewater treatment plant, neighbors agree that it's the chemical smells, not the sewer smells that burn their eyes and noses that they're worried about," Ruth Breech, Southwest Ohio Program Director, Ohio Citizen Action.

    ADDYSTON -- Preventative maintenance and malfunction abatement plan, Lanxess Plastics
    Apr 9:  Gas releases violated laws, Lanxess told

    Hitchens School

    Meredith Hitchens Elementary School is across the street from Lanxess Plastics in Addyston.

    CINCINNATI -- "Hamilton County's Department of Environmental Services put an Addyston plastics maker on notice Friday that it violated state air pollution laws when it released thousands of pounds of suspected cancer-causing gases in three separate incidents since October. The letter requires Lanxess Corp. to submit a plan by April 18 that will ensure there are no more accidents at the plant. . . Ruth Breech, Southwest Program Director for Ohio Citizen Action, applauded the memo and said the releases have to stop. 'There absolutely has to be accountability,' Breech said. 'I don't know if fines are the best way to make that happen. But if that's what it takes to get (company officials) to wake up and say this can't happen anymore, then that's what should happen,'" Dan Klepal, Cincinnati Enquirer.
    Apr 8:  Let Lanxess CEO Axel Heitmann know what you think

    Axel Heitmann
    Dr. Axel Claus Heitmann, CEO, Lanxess
    ADDYSTON -- "It is 4,300 miles between Addyston, Ohio and the Lanxess headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany. We can use email to help Lanxess CEO Axel Heitmann stay in touch with the people of Addyston and southwest Ohio. Let him know what you think about the way his Addyston plastics plant is being run. You could send a pre-written, pre-addressed email; feel free to change the message, of course. Or, if you want to start from scratch, Heitmann's email address is axel.heitmann@lanxess.com. If you'd rather send him a handwritten letter, the mailing address is Dr. Axel Claus Heitmann, CEO, Lanxess Corporation, Leverkusen Chemiepark, Bldg. K10, 51368 Leverkusen, Germany (Airmail, 4 - 7 days, $0.80). Thanks," Ruth Breech, Southwest Ohio Program Director, Ohio Citizen Action.
    • It's best to use your own words, of course. Here's a sample to get you started:
      Dear Dr. Heitmann:
      The Lanxess plant in Addyston, Ohio has had three major accidents releasing acrylonitrile and butadiene since October 2004, and 105 additional accidents reported in 2004. The plant is directly across the street from an elementary school. Neighbors want answers and action now.
      Lanxess needs to (1) Replace the plant manager in Addyston. (2) Make all necessary changes to stop odors and air pollution from getting out into the community. (3) Agree with the community to allow independent experts to recommend and monitor safety changes at this plant.
      Please contact me to let me know what Lanxess is doing to take care of these problems. I look forward to your response.
    Lanxess neighbors meeting
    Some of the 100 Lanxess neighbors who crowded Tuesday's meeting
    Apr 7:  Lanxess can be good neighbor, work with community

    ADDYSTON -- "On Dec 2, the local plant manager told the community that the accident in October was not acceptable and that the plant would change its ways. Two huge accidents and four months later, the company has still not corrected these problems. In any other company at this point, the plant manager would have already been fired and replaced," Ruth Breech, Southwest Ohio Program Director, Ohio Citizen Action, guest column, Western Hills Press.
    MORE ON LANXESS PLASTICS
    Apr 6:  Chemical company claims it's fixing its problems

    Jay Richey
    Jay Richey, Vice President and General Manager, Lanxess North America
    ADDYSTON -- "Angry residents and parents confronted an Addyston plastic manufacturing company Tuesday night about recent accidental releases of hazardous chemicals. The company's top manager in the country defended Lanxess which used to be called Bayer, and before that, Monsanto. But both neighbors and environmental activists say they've heard these promises for months yet the accidents continue. 'What we're asking for is accountability,' said Ruth Breech, of Ohio Citizen Action. 'Why is tonight's meeting different from another day? We're asking for a good-faith gesture,' said Breech. Jay Richey, vice president and general manager of the company's North American division, says the firm is fixing problems and is trying to answer the neighbors' demands. 'We feel like we're very accountable,' said Richey. 'We take our responsibility to the environment very seriously. We are taking real concrete actions to solve these problems.' Lanxess is due to deliver a report spelling out a plan to correct problems to the county by April 18," Neil Relyea, WCPO TV 9 News.
    Apr 4:  New Report:
    A decade of accidents in Addyston

    ADDYSTON -- "Lanxess Plastics in Addyston has had three large accidents in the past four months: one in October 2004, one in December 2004, and one in February 2005. Unfortunately, these accidents are not isolated incidents, but rather a display of chronic behavior dating back to at least 1996 when Bayer bought the plant from Monsanto. In 2004 alone, Lanxess reported 107 accidents. These recurring accidents caused the release of 3,932.36 lbs of toxic chemicals into the air and 79 gallons of untreated waste into Ohio River. These releases are in addition to the plant's "routine" toxic chemical emissions," Ruth Breech, Ohio Citizen Action.
    Apr 1:  Plant releases volatile gases

    ADDYSTON -- "Plastics maker Lanxess released about 370 pounds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) last month in two separate accidents. On March 9, 270 pounds of VOCs were released into the atmosphere over five hours. Four days later, an additional 99 pounds of the gas were released. Lanxess officials say the releases were "inconsequential" and that they were not required to report them to the Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services. The company did report the equipment malfunctions that led to the releases. Neighbors of the plant have been meeting with company officials for months to improve communication when accidents happen. The company has had three major releases of suspected cancer-causing gas since October," Dan Klepal, Cincinnati Enquirer.
    Mar 31:  Lanxess neighbors: please mark your calendars

    ADDYSTON -- "There will be a community meeting with Lanxess Plastics on Tuesday, April 5 at 6:30 pm at the Meadows 59 E. Main Street (Cleves-Warsaw Pike) Upstairs, in Addyston. The community will present their standard to Lanxess Management,'" Ruth Breech, Ohio Citizen Action.
    Mar 30:  Watchdog group back in area seeking support from local residents

    Sarah Grutza
    Sarah Grutza
    MIDDLETOWN -- "Sarah Grutza, canvass director for Ohio Citizen Action, said no area company is being targeted by the group. Instead, group volunteers will be going door-to-door in Middletown and Carlisle to raise awareness of environmental issues as a whole, she said. 'We're all affected by the pollution,” Grutza said. Ohio Citizen Action is at the tail end of a self-styled four-year 'Good Neighbor' campaign against AK Steel over the steel manufacturer’s emissions from its Middletown plant. Grutza said Ohio Citizen Action is continuing its dialogue with AK Steel officials. During the time of the 'Good Neighbor' campaign, AK Steel has installed a fence around Dicks Creek and agreed to cut emissions. Ohio Citizen Action’s current efforts target Lanxess Plastics, an Addyston-based company on the Ohio River that makes plastics used for toys, automobile interiors, refrigerator linings and medical parts, Grutza said," M. Kurtz, Middletown Journal.

    Mar 29:  Two more Lanxess accidents in March:
    369 pounds of volatile organic compounds released

    "It's time for a new plant manager. Enough is enough."


    ADDYSTON -- "We just learned today of two additional Lanxess accidents in March. At 5 AM on March 10, four different emission units began leaking a total of 270 pounds of volatile organic compounds into Addyston's air over a 5 1/2 hour period. Three days later, another accident sent 99 pounds of volatile organic compounds into the air. The preliminary information about the leaks was provided by Terry Harris, a Lanxess environmental engineer, to the Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services; a full report is due to the County by March 31. A full report is not needed, however, to know that it's time for a new plant manager. Enough is enough," Ruth Breech, Southwest Ohio Program Director, Ohio Citizen Action.

    • Report 1, Report 2

    • Volatile organic compounds are organic (carbon-containing) compounds that evaporate readily at room temperature. These compounds are used as solvents, degreasers, paints, thinners and fuels. They react in the presence of nitrogen oxides and sunlight to form ground-level ozone, a major component of smog. Ozone irritates the eyes, damages the lungs, and aggravates respiratory problems. A number of volatile organic compounds are also toxic, with the potential to cause cancer and nerve damage.
    Betty Eckert and family
    Betsy Eckert, Jade Eckert, Jasmine Jackson, Kelli Knoche, and an air sampling bucket (Photo by Steven M. Herppich, Enquirer).
    Mar 23:  Lanxess, Addyston residents pursuing emissions solution

    ADDYSTON -- "Now [Betty] Eckert, 64, and some of her neighbors have armed themselves with simple buckets in an attempt to protect themselves against future gas releases, which they believe to be an invisible menace that could cause health problems. The buckets, with plastic linings and air-tight lids, allow residents to capture air samples when they smell something that doesn't seem right. The environmental group Ohio Citizen Action has secured a $7,500 grant for an independent California laboratory to perform the $500 tests on the air samples neighborhood residents collect. 'Families here stay for generations,' Eckert said. 'That's why we're doing this. It seems that these accidents are getting worse. The company says they're working on it, and they're very convincing, but it never seems to get done. This is a lovely community that is being poisoned. We're just trying to protect ourselves," she said," Dan Klepal, Cincinnati Enquirer.
    Mar 22:  Neighbor travels to Germany with letter to Lanxess CEO:
    "In any other company at this point the plant manager would have already been fired and replaced"

    ADDYSTON -- "Ken Gosney is leaving for Germany today and will personally deliver a letter on behalf of neighbors from the Westside communities of Addyston, Cleves, North Bend, and Sayler Park. The letter to Lanxess CEO Axel Heitmann states, 'On December 2, 2004, the local plant manager told the community that the accident in October was 'not acceptable' and that the plant would change its ways. Two huge accidents and four months later, the company has still not corrected these problems. In any other company at this point the plant manager would have already been fired and replaced. We have seen other companies in Ohio make the necessary changes to meet community standards. We strongly believe that it is possible for communities and companies to coexist and for relationships to improve. We urge you to put the proper management in place to make these standards a reality,'" Ruth Breech, Ohio Citizen Action.
    Mar 21:  Photos: Lanxess neighbors meeting



    ADDYSTON -- "Neighbors from the Westside communities of Addyston, Cleves, North Bend, and Sayler Park met on Tuesday, March 15 to define a community standard for their neighborhood. Residents decided that they will hold Lanxess to the following -- no odors; no leaks; no accidents; no dust; no pollution into the Ohio River and underground aquifer; install fenceline monitors on the westside; reduce emissions to as close to zero as possible. Neighbors want a plan of action from Lanxess that shows real changes that address each of these problems. Neighbors also noted the importance of an outside party (someone not employed by Lanxess Pittsburgh or Germany) that will verify the plan," Ruth Breech, Ohio Citizen Action.
    Mar 11:  Cloud had 750 lbs. of toxin
    Addyston company reviews after third gas release

    ADDYSTON -- "About 750 pounds of the cancer-causing gas butadiene was released in a Feb. 23 accident at Lanxess, the plastic maker reported Thursday to the Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services. The gas is extremely toxic, and the company must report to the county any release of more than 10 pounds. All 750 pounds were released into the atmosphere in about two hours. The February incident was the third major release of a dangerous gas at the plant since October. The company had accidental releases of 1,200 pounds of a "probable" carcinogen, acrylonitrile, during the village's Oktoberfest celebration, and an additional 700 pounds of the same gas Dec. 15. The environmental group Ohio Citizen Action has been organizing public meetings between citizens and company officials for months to work on better communication when accidents happen. Ruth Breech, southwest coordinator for the organization, said that the February release happened during a public meeting with the company," Dan Klepal, Cincinnati Enquirer.
    Mar 2:  Bayer 2004 profit meets forecasts, ups dividend

    FRANKFURT, GERMANY -- "Bayer shares have risen 13.7 percent this year, outdoing a 3 percent rise in the DAX blue chip index, as investors celebrated the shedding of Lanxess, whose businesses suffer from thin margins," Reuters.
    Feb 26:  Lanxess' gas release third since October

    ADDYSTON -- "Plastic maker Lanxess is investigating the release of a cancer-causing gas called butadiene on Feb. 23 -- the third major release of a suspected carcinogen from the plant since October. Officials with the Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services say they don't know how much of the gas escaped into the atmosphere. The company is responsible for finding out why the accident happened and for determining how much of the gas was released. 'These accidents are so consistent that everyone needs to be more proactive and preventative,' said Ruth Breech of the environmental group Ohio Citizen Action," Dan Klepal, Cincinnati Enquirer.
    Feb 24:  New Lanxess accident during last night's community meeting on Lanxess accidents

    ADDYSTON -- "Last night, neighbors of the Lanxess Plastics met with company officials to discuss the company's 36 accidents in 2004, and what could be done to prevent them in the future. During the meeting, the Lanxess plant -- less than a mile away -- had another accident, in which valves 'not completely sealed' released cancer-causing butadiene into the air. Lanxess environmental engineer Duane Day did not say how much butadiene escaped, but he said it was a 'reportable' amount. The 'reportable amount' for butadiene is at least 10 pounds. According to Day, the accident lasted from 4:30 PM to 6:45 PM, and he said he had reported it to Hamilton County Environmental Services," Ruth Breech, Ohio Citizen Action.
    Feb 19:  Childhood cancers and atmospheric carcinogens

    BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND -- "Childhood cancer/leukaemia births are closely associated with high atmospheric emissions from combustion processes, mainly oil based, and from organic evaporation. Demonstrated associations with 1–3,butadiene, dioxins, and benz(a)pyrene, but possibly others as well, are probably causal. Such toxic emissions may account for a majority of all cases. . . The main policy implications are a need to regulate carcinogenic atmospheric emissions, especially 1,3-butadiene; and for a redirection of research efforts relating to childhood cancer. This research should now try to determine the exact timings of chemically determined air mediated cancer initiations—whether in early infancy or prenatally, or even preconceptually; and to seek engineering and social solutions," Dr. E. George Knox, University of Birmingham, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, Mar 2005.
    • Last October, Lanxess Plastics leaked 34 lbs of butadiene into the air across the street from a large OctoberFest celebration in Addyston. The plant leaked 1,122 lbs of acrylonitrile at the same time.

    • The "AG" in "Lanxess AG" is an acronym for "Aktien Gesellschaft," literally "shares society". It means that Lanxess is a corporation owned by shareholders.
    Feb 18:  Germany: Bayer slated over Lanxess debt risk

    FRANKFURT, GERMANY -- "A small group of protesters led by the Bayer-critical pressure group CBGnetwork and Catholic peace activists made a stand against last week´s stock market debut of Bayer spin-off Lanxess in Frankfurt, Germany. The protesters complained that Bayer is unloading debts of more than €2 billion onto the new company, and that this would lead to mounting losses as well as endanger 'thousands of jobs.' The Lanxess share started trading on 31 January at €15.75, but fell below €14 later in the day. As ECN went to press, the price was €15. At the launch, chairman Axel Heitmann said all Lanxess´ businesses would be 'put to the test' this year, to determine whether they are delivering value to shareholders," European Chemical News. Access fee; no link.
    Feb 8:  Community meetings scheduled in Addyston





    MORE ON LANXESS PLASTICS
    Jan 28:  Lanxess spin-off from Bayer takes legal effect

    LEVERKUSEN, GERMANY -- "Lanxess AG said its spin-off from Bayer AG has taken legal effect today. Lanxess shares will be allotted to Bayer stockholders on a one-for-ten basis. For technical reasons the allotment will not take place until after the close of trading today, Lanxess said. Trading in Lanxess shares is scheduled to commence on Jan 31, with the opening price likely to be determined between 9.15 and 9.25 am, Bayer said.," Agence France-Presse.

    FRANKFURT, GERMANY -- Altana, Bayer, DaimlerChrysler, Infineon: German equity preview. "Shares of Lanxess AG, trading on a when-issued basis, fell to 14 euros [$18.25] yesterday after earlier being priced at between 15.5 euros and 16 euros [$20.21 - $20.86], brokerage Lang & Schwarz Wertpapierhandel AG said on its Web site. Lanxess, the chemical unit that Bayer AG is spinning off to shareholders, begins trading on the Frankfurt exchange Jan. 31. Bayer shares dropped 24 cents, or 1 percent, to 24.71 euros," Bloomberg News.
    Jan 27:  Manufacturer released more dangerous gas

    Mike Sieving
    Neighbor Mike Sieving
    ADDYSTON -- "A plastic manufacturer reported to the Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services this week that it released 700 pounds of a gas Dec. 15 that is considered a "probable" cancer-causing agent. Lanxess Corp, formerly the Bayer Co., told a public hearing with residents, county officials and members of Ohio Citizen Action on Wednesday that a malfunction in a reactor that makes plastic caused the release of the gas, called acrylonitrile. All 700 pounds were released in eight minutes. The company is allowed to release up to eight pounds of the gas during manufacturing processes. The company, which had an accident during the village's Oktoberfest celebration last year that released nearly 1,200 pounds of the same gas, said no workers or residents were exposed to the gas," Dan Klepal, Cincinnati Enquirer.

    ADDYSTON -- Neighbors meet with Addyston plastic plant officials, Neil Relyea, WCPO-TV 9.
    Jan 26:  Lanxess hearing today

    ADDYSTON -- "A public hearing to discuss odor complaints and accidents at plastics maker Lanxess will be held today, from 6:30-8:30 p.m., in Addyston. The meeting was originally scheduled for Thursday, but was rescheduled because of the snow. It will be at The Meadows, 59 E. Main St. (Cleves-Warsaw Pike)," Cincinnati Enquirer.
    Jan 21:  Lanxess spilled 700 lbs of toxic chemicals in 8 minutes on Dec 15, report shows


    ADDYSTON -- "Lanxess reported that they spewed 700 pounds of acrylonitrile into the air in eight minutes on December 15, 2004, according to documents the company filed this week with Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services. Lanxess' permit allows them to release only 8 pounds of acrylonitrile during the particular chemical process where the accident occurred. Laws require the company to report any releases over 100 pounds. According to the report, the release was high enough to set off alarms at the plant, turning off lights and signaling workers to put on respirators. Lanxess' internal investigation concluded that the accident was caused when a critical step was missed in the batch manufacturing process, causing over pressurization of the reactor," Ruth Breech, Ohio Citizen Action.
    Jan 10:  Bayer lowered to 'sell' at Merrill Lynch

    LONDON, ENGLAND -- "Merrill Lynch downgraded German chemicals and pharmaceuticals group Bayer to 'sell' from 'neutral,' saying it sees increasing risks for 2005, 'including the commodity cycle and danger that CropScience faces a less favorable year.' The broker said pharma strategy remains high risk, and 'spin-off of Lanxess is unlikely to prove a positive catalyst.' Merrill concluded that with only two significant products in Phase II and Phase III, 'almost everything needs to go right to deliver any long-term growth,' Aude Lagorce, CBS News.
    Jan 6:  Westside Action Group and Ohio Citizen Action welcome Lanxess to the neighborhood

    Invite new CEO to meet

    Lanxess world headquarters
    Lanxess world headquarters building, Bayer Chemical Park, Leverkusen, Germany.
    ADDYSTON -- "Happy New Year and congratulations on your appointment as CEO of the new Lanxess Corporation. As residents of Addyston, North Bend, and Sayler Park in southwest Ohio who live near your Addyston, Ohio facility, we want to welcome Lanxess to the neighborhood. . . We are confident that Lanxess can improve its processes to prevent pollution, minimize accidents and improve communcation with community leaders and residents. . . . We invite you to meet with us if you visit your facilities in the United States," letter, Westside Action Group, Ohio Citizen Action, to Dr. Axel Claus Heitmann, CEO, Lanxess Corporation, Leverkusen, Germany.

    PARIS, FRANCE -- European stocks ease on U.S. interest rate worry. "Bayer shed 2.5 per cent, further compounded by uncertainties over the Lanxess unit the German group is to list at the end of this month," Reuters.

    LOS ANGELES -- Deutsche Boerse, Porsche, Volkswagen: German equity preview. "Workers at Lanxess AG, the chemical business being spun off by Bayer, may sue their employer over plans to save 20 million euros ($26.4 million) in personnel costs this year, Die Welt said, citing unidentified people close to the company. Bayer shares added 1 cent to 24.12 euros," Bloomberg News.


    News from 2004