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

Lanxess had 107 accidents in 2004 including three significant releases:

1. From October 2-4, 2004 Lanxess released 1,500 lbs of toxic acrylonitrile, butadiene and styrene in the air during the weekend of Addyston’s Octoberfest;

2. On December 15, 2004 Lanxess released 700 lbs of acrylontrile in eight minutes;

3. On February 23, 2005, Lanxess released 750 lbs of butadiene during a meeting with the community on accident prevention.

On September 25, 2005, Lanxess Plant Manager Sandy Marshall announced the company 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 said 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.

Campaign Accomplishments

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

  • Neighbors took their own air samples, proving the presence of chemicals in the neighborhood. Neighbors kept pollution logs documenting odors and happenings at the plant.

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

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

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

Background on the Lanxess campaign