Monday, October 17, 2011

Criminal Charges Being Sought in 31-Year-Old Contamination Case

By Duane Craig

A former Hoechst Celanese plant near Cannon's Campground, South Carolinas, is being blamed for improperly disposing of contaminating chemicals and causing dozens of cancer cases since the 1960s, according to this report in

Lawyers are representing 70 families in a class action suit and the state's attorney general has been asked to file criminal charges against the company, now known just as Celanese. While South Carolina's environmental department claims the contamination of the ground water remains beneath the site and has not migrated to local water wells, residents are skeptical.

The site is at Hoechst Drive and I-85 and was the location where chemicals were routinely dumped before environmental regulations were in place. The groundwater cleanup has been going on since 1980 and will continue for 20, 30, 40 years or more. Lawyers say they have accounts from former employees that point to the dumping as being illegal.

The Hoechst name has been associated with a number of companies through mergers and acquisitions over its 131 year history. It was founded in Germany and bought Celanese in 1987 only to spin it off in 1998 while the company was trying to transition from the chemical business to the pharmaceuticals business.

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