Combining our medical and mass tort legal experience, we are fighting for medical help and financial relief for residents of Jersey City, NJ who have been exposed to cancer-causing hexavalent chromium waste. For nearly a century, Honeywell and PPG disposed of more than one million tons of this waste at over one hundred sites across Jersey City. Internal records for the companies show they knew chromium could cause cancer, yet they failed to properly clean up the sites.
Evidence suggests that Honeywell was aware of chromium’s cancer risk as early as 1937. The company conducted research over the course of the 1930’s and 40’s, which revealed a link between chromium ore processing residue (COPR) and lung and digestive tract cancers. Despite this realization, Honeywell and PPG deliberately chose not to report these risks to the federal government and to citizens living near Honeywell’s waste sites in Jersey City. A private letter written by the President of Honeywell in 1951 revealed that Honeywell wished to keep their research out of public view, fearing the impact it could have on the future of the industry.
Honeywell continued to obscure the truth on the health risks of their operation until a study released by the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances in 2008 indicated an increase in cancer rates for those living nearby the chromium waste sites. “Health and environmental regulators publicly assured Jersey City residents that the presence of this chromium did not increase their risk of developing cancer. However, a government study revealed they were wrong. Of the residents who were studied, some living closest to the waste sites had up to a 17% higher rate of lung cancer than people residing farther away,” said MyAdvocates attorney Howard Janet.
The Class Action Lawsuit Smith, et al., v. Honeywell International, Inc., et al. in Hudson County, NJ. was filed on May 17, 2010. The lawsuit demands that the polluters pay damages to landowners whose properties have been devalued, pay punitive damages and to immediately remove the hazardous materials from the area. The site is in a densely populated neighborhood and, in his ruling on the case, Federal District Court Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh said it presented “a substantial risk of imminent damage to public health and safety and imminent and severe damage to the environment.”
For a copy of the complaint and federal court rulings that this case may move forward, visit JerseyCityLawsuit.com.