Lanxess Plastics, Addyston

What's the problem?

July 1, 2004

Ruth Breech, Southwest Ohio Program Director
Ohio Citizen Action, (513) 221-2100.

Bayer and Addyston

Lanxess Plastics -- formerly Bayer Polymer Plastics, formerly Monsanto -- is fifteen miles west of downtown Cincinnati in the small historic village of Addyston. The plant, at 356 Three Rivers Parkway, sits on the Ohio River, and is directly across the street from Addyston's Meredith Hitchens elementary school. In the photo above, Cinergy's Miami Fort coal-fired power plant in North Bend can be seen in the distance.

Lanxess Plastics causes headaches for neighbors

Drawing Drawing Drawing

The Addyston plant makes plastics for auto interiors, refrigerator linings, office equipment, power tools, health spas and medical parts. The main materials in these plastics are acrylonitrile, butadiene and styrene. Acrylonitrile and butadiene are both known to cause cancer. Exposure to all of these chemicals may damage the heart, lungs, and the gastrointestinal and nervous systems.

Lanxess Plastics 2003 air emissions (in lbs)
Carbon monoxide Carbon monoxide can replace oxygen in bloodstream, causing fatigue, chest pain, and nausea; it is fatal in high concentrations. 120,900
Nitrogen oxide Nitrogen oxide can irritate the nose, throat, lungs and eyes, and cause shortness of breath, fatigue, and nausea. 370,520
Sulfur dioxide Sulfur dioxide can constrict airways and inhibit breathing; it is especially dangerous to asthmatics. 812,840
Small particulates Small particulates -- invisible particles -- can damage lungs, and is easily assimilated into bloodstream. 147,240
Large particulates Large particulates -- visible soot and flakes -- can damage lungs. 86,020
Volatile organic compounds Volatile organic compounds can damage the liver, kidneys, and the central nervous system, and cause cancer. 102,020
Total   1,639,540
Source: Lanxess Title V emission report to Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services

Since Bayer took over this site in 1996, they have had 63 malfunctions that have resulted in the release of toxic chemicals into the air or water. Bayer released 371 pounds of acrylonitrile into the air in five minutes on June 9, 1999, causing several local businesses to shut down, and sending three people to the hospital due to nausea. In April 2003, a Bayer worker died at an explosion on site, which was caused by chemicals leaking into what was supposed to be an unused processing tank.

Bayer's continued spills, leaks, and accidents, along with contamination by the former plant owner, Monsanto Chemical, caused the Ohio EPA to launch an investigation for future cleanup. The wells that supply the drinking water for the city of Addyston are on the Bayer property, right next to the Ohio River. In a December 2003 assessment report, Ohio EPA deemed Addyston' s well supply as high in susceptibility to contamination.

Throughout the area, neighbors report being overwhelmed with odors from the facility. These odors cause neighbors headaches and sometimes burn their eyes and the inside of their noses. Complaints include frequent smells of "burnt plastic," "rotten eggs," ammonia and chlorine. Residents have noticed a strange yellow dust settling on homes and vehicles, this dust is very hard to clean off and has eaten away the paint.

Lanxess Plastics, which spun off from Bayer, needs to protect public health and safety in the community, by reducing their accidents and preventing emissions of toxic chemicals into the air and water.