DuPont Louisiana neoprene unit may pose danger

03 September 2007 03:50 Source:ICIS News

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--The United Steelworkers (USW) late on Sunday warned Louisiana’s state governor of possible dangerous chloroprene emissions from a DuPont neoprene rubber facility where production is scheduled to increase.

DuPont subsidiary, DuPont Performance Elastomers (DPE), planned to close its neoprene rubber unit in Louisville, Kentucky, USA,  and consolidate production in LaPlace, Louisiana next year.

This move is expected to make over 200 workers redundant.

“The trade-off for a few jobs will be added pollution and a higher risk of cancer,” USW District 8 director Billy Thompson said in a letter sent last week to Governor Kathleen Babineaux.

“The real costs will be borne by the citizens of Louisiana, not DuPont.”

The Louisville Courier-Journal recently reported that DPE’s estimated cancer risks from the maximum emissions allowed under its permits could cause 357,000 cases for every million people in Louisville.

“The community should demand accountability from DuPont and the strictest safety precautions,” USW District 13 director Mickey Breaux said.

“While workers inside the facility have already been exposed, we are concerned for their healthy and safety as production levels are expected to dramatically increase.”

The USW is the United State’s largest industrial union with 850,000 members, including 1,800 DuPont workers.

By Jeanne Lim