MONTGOMERY, Ala. (CN) - Noxious pollution from an International Paper plant killed four people, the widows say in Federal Court. The widows say International Paper underreported its releases of dioxin and other poisons, lied about complying with state and federal laws, and polluted the area around its Prattville plant with carcinogenic chemicals for a decade.
The widows say International Paper knew for nine years that its emissions could cause cancer to people who lived within 2 miles of the plant, and falsely claimed that it was complying with state and federal environmental laws.
The women say they believed International Paper's public misrepresentations, and therefore did not move away, which "worsened" their husbands' health problems, until they died of cancer and other diseases.
They seek punitive damages for wrongful death and negligence and violations of a slew of laws, including the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Solid Waste Disposal Act and the Alabama Air Pollution Control Act.
Poisons spewed from the plant include dioxins, furans, volatile organic compounds, halogenated aromatic hydrocarbons, tiny particulates, acetaldehyde, acrolein, benzene, ethylbenzene, ethylene, ethylene glycol, formaldehyde, methylene chloride, methyl ethyl ketone, phenols, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, trichloroethylene, toluene, xylene and other carcinogens, according to the complaint.
The widows are represented by H. Gregory Harp with the Environmental Litigation Group.