Residents in Jersey City, N.J., have filed a lawsuit against Honeywell International of New Jersey and PPG Industries of Pennsylvania that alleges the companies dumped and failed to clean up hexavalent chromium waste in their neighborhoods.
The lawsuit claims that Honeywell and PPG disposed of more than one million tons of chromium in Jersey City beginning in the early 1900s. The waste, referred to as chrome ore processing residue, or COPR, is a by-product of Honeywell and PPG’s Jersey City chromium chemical production operations.
The class action lawsuit seeks punitive damages, along with medical monitoring, for residents and property owners in the wake of a federal study (PDF) showing elevated levels of cancer in some areas near the waste sites, according to residents’ attorneys.
Howard Janet, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs, said the study completed recently by the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) reveals that some residents living closest to the waste sites had up to a 17 percent higher rate of lung cancer than people residing farther away.
The suit also seeks compensation for devaluation and other property damages for as many as 27,800 parcels near the waste sites.