Lakeshore Public Media 10-10-16


October 10, 2016

By: Annie Ropeik, IPB News


EAST CHICAGO -East Chicago residents are taking more legal action over high levels of lead and arsenic found around their homes. A new lawsuit filed last week on Thursday Oct. 6th is the first to single out two chemical companies that are legally responsible for the hazards.

Attorney Thomas Zimmerman filed the suit against DuPont and Atlantic Richfield on behalf of residents who have to move out of East Chicago’s West Calumet Housing Complex. Zimmerman says in 2014, those companies agreed to pay the EPA $26 million to help with clean-up.

“But that does not compensate the residents for the inconvenience and expense associated with the disruption of their lives, and having to find a new place to live and move,” said Zimmerman.

His suit asks the companies to pay those costs and other damages to all thousand-plus residents of West Calumet. The case is the only one so far that focuses on DuPont and Atlantic Richfield – other suits filed for residents in recent months have named the companies alongside city officials, or not at all.

A DuPont spokesman says their year-old performance chemicals spinoff, Chemours, had, quote-“assumed responsibility for liabilities related to this site.” Chemours did not immediately respond to requests for comment. An Atlantic Richfield spokesman says only that they’re complying with the EPA.

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Rated by Super Lawyers: Thomas Zimmerman