California Sues Oakland Foundry Over Emissions Containing Carcinogen – CBS San Francisco

OAKLAND (CBS SF/BCN) – California prosecutors sued an Oakland foundry Tuesday over it emitting a reproductive toxicant and carcinogen made infamous by the movie “Erin Brockovich.”.

The lawsuit filed against McWane Inc., doing business as AB&I Foundry, is over emissions of hexavalent chromium, which have been shown to cause lung cancer in people when inhaled, according to the National Toxicology Program at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

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State Attorney General Rob Bonta’s lawsuit alleges AB&I unlawfully emitted the compound into East Oakland.

AB&I Foundry is headquartered at 7825 San Leandro St. in Oakland near the Oakland Coliseum. A website for the company says it is “the largest manufacturer of cast iron soil pipe and fittings in the Western United States.”

“Everyone has a right to clean air where they live and where they work. It’s that simple,” Bonta said in a statement. “Unfortunately, that’s not the reality for too many communities across our state, communities who all too often live at the intersection of poverty and pollution.

“It’s time for a change,” Bonta said. “We’re filing this lawsuit to ensure AB&I does right by the East Oakland community in which it operates and takes action to eliminate emissions of these toxic chemicals.”

The foundry, Bonta said, is located near a low-income community and a community of color, which suffers from high rates of asthma, heart disease and other health conditions linked to pollution.

AB&I allegedly failed to warn nearby communities about its toxic chemical emissions and the risks associated with exposure to those emissions.

But the company said in a statement, “AB&I Foundry operates in compliance with environmental regulations, standards and voluntary commitments as a basic prerequisite of its manufacturing processes.”

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“We believe we are, and always have been, operating in full compliance with Proposition 65 and will be cooperating fully with the Attorney General’s office to demonstrate this compliance,” the statement said.

Proposition 65 is California’s unfair competition law.

State prosecutors said that 85 percent of the community near the foundry lives under the poverty line. Sixty-six percent of the community is Hispanic, and 21 percent is Black, prosecutors said.

Homes can be found to the north, east and south of the foundry and 10 schools are located nearby. Acorn Woodland Elementary School is less than a half-mile away. A public library is also nearby.

Homeless residents are living within a quarter-mile of the foundry, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said residents in the affected community where AB&I is located go to the emergency room more frequently for asthma-related concerns than residents of any other census tract in California.

Prosecutors said that when people inhale hexavalent chromium it is 5,000 times more potent than benzene, another carcinogen than can cause leukemia in humans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The lawsuit by the state is the second to be filed against AB&I. Late last year, Communities for a Better Environment filed a suit in Alameda County Superior Court also alleging AB&I violated Proposition 65.

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