5th Ward Residents Exposed to Creosote– a Toxin that Can Cause Cancer
Houston Cancer Cluster Attorneys
An investigation is underway between a possible link between Creosote and a disproportionately high instance of cancer diagnoses in the Houston 5th Ward and Kashmere Gardens. Studies conducted between 2000 and 2016 indicate a statistically significant higher portion of the population developing cancer, particularly lung cancer. Creosote is a known carcinogen that has been used in the past at the nearby Englewood Railyard–which has been owned by Union Pacific Railroad since the late 1990s. If you live near the Englewood Railyard, contact a Houston 5th Ward cancer lawyer to learn your options today.
What is Creosote?
Creosote is a brownish-black/yellowish dark-green oily liquid that is slightly soluble in water. Coal-Tar Creosote is made by the distillation of thousands of chemicals. The major chemicals in coal tar creosote, coal tar, and coal tar pitch that can cause harmful effects are phenols, cresols, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. A specific type of Creosote called “Coal-Tar Creosote” has been used to preserve the wood on railroad ties from rotting. The Coal-Tar Creosote seeped into the ground likely over time, contaminating the soil and groundwater. There is now believed to be a “plume” of contamination located beneath the roughly 110 homes of the 5th Ward and Kashmere Gardens.
Did Union Pacific Railroad Use Creosote?
While an investigation is still ongoing, it appears that Creosote was used at the Englewood Railyard by Southern Pacific Railroad prior to the property being sold to Union Pacific Railroad. Union Pacific maintains that they stopped using Creosote in the 1980s. Thus, the contamination likely occurred and was present before the Union Pacific Railroad acquired the Englewood Railyard. A concern in the current investigation is that while Union Pacific maintains that they did considerable testing of their own, it appears that the public was not alerted of a potential danger until recently. As an owner of a property contaminated by a hazardous substance, Union Pacific Railroad may be held liable by the state or federal government by way of a Superfund cleanup.
What is a Superfund Cleanup?
A superfund cleanup refers to the process by which the Environmental Protection Agency EPA requires the cleanup of properties that have been contaminated with hazardous substances. The EPA may either use money from the fund to do the cleanup and then seeks reimbursement of costs from the contaminators and/or subsequent property owners, or; force the “potentially responsible parties” to pay for the cleanup as it is done. These actions are pursued by the EPA directly and my run concurrent with injury claims filed by Houston cancer cluster lawyers.
There are over 40,000 sites that have been identified as superfund sites under this law. The “Superfund law” refers to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1080 (CERCLA). This statute gives the federal government the enforcement power to bring about the cleanup.
Will There Be a 5th Ward Superfund Cleanup?
Whether or not a full Superfund cleanup will be required has yet to be determined but it seems very likely. Studies by the Texas Department of State Health Services has detected a higher than normal incidence of cancer in the area. “Staff analyzed Texas Cancer Registry data available for a 17-year period spanning from 2000 through 2016,” according to the report. “Lung and bronchus, esophagus, and larynx cancers were statistically significantly greater than expected.” An investigation has also been opened by the Harris County District Attorney.
If You Have Been Affected Call Simmons & Fletcher Today.
An investigation into the connection between Creosote and the increased incidents of cancer in Houston’s 5th Ward and Kashmere Gardens. Please call us to be connected to a Houston Cancer Cluster Lawyer if you or someone you love lives or has lived in the affected areas and has been diagnosed with any of the following cancers: lung cancer, esophageal cancer, larynx cancer, or liver cancer.
There is a limited time in which to bring a claim. Call 1-800-298-0111 to learn your rights.