Rohm and Haas: What's the problem?
Rohm and Haas produces specialty chemicals for the PVC plastics industry. They purchased the Morton International facility in Reading in 1999. Citizens and workers have a long history of problems with Rohm and Haas' chemical plant, including:

Air pollution

Rohm and Haas releases 82,540 pounds of air pollution a year according to the most recent data available. Rohm and Haas emits chloromethane, calssified by the U.S. EPA as extremely toxic. Acute exposure to high concentrations in humans has caused severe neurological effects including convulsions, coma and death. It also affects the heart rate, blood pressure, liver and kidney. Exposure may cause cancer or reproductive problems.

Odors

Neighbors have reported the smell of dead fish or rotten eggs since the early 1990's.

Diesel trucks

Neighbors got the city to erect "No overnight truck parking" signs at the parking lot located between the neighborhood and the company, but many trucks are still parked with their noisy diesel engines running on the streets before 7 a.m. Diesel fumes can cause cancer.

Clean Water Act violations

Rohm and Haas has been under a consent order since Morton was sued for Clean Water Act violations in 1992. However, Rohm and Haas has violated the Clean Water Act and additional 97 times from 1993-2001. Violations include releases of mercury, chloromethane, toluene, chloroform, lead, and oil and grease.

Accidental chemical releases

From 1996 to 2001 Rohm and Haas has had at least four documented accidental releases of chloromethane (methyl chloride).

Groundwater and soil contamination

There has been a long history of unregulated dumping of hazardous waste at the Rohm and Haas site. In 2000, the USEPA forced Rohm and Haas to begin an investigation to find out whether groundwater contamination has traveled off the property. The study is expected to take two years.

What neighbors want
  • Reduction of all health-damaging air releases as close to zero as possible.
  • Elimination of odors in the community.
  • Prohibition of diesel trucks parking in residential streets prior to delivery.
  • A timetable and measureable goals that all can agree with.