Put a Stop to Reportedly Hazardous Emissions from Petrochemical Facility

Target: Toshio Imai, President and CEO of Denka

Goal: Protect the residents of a Louisiana neighborhood from potentially toxic petrochemical emissions.

St. John the Baptist parish in Louisiana is reportedly being exposed to extremely high concentrations of toxic airborne emissions from a nearby petrochemical unit operated by Denka Co Ltd. The company has been accused by the Justice Department of generating an unacceptable cancer risk, caused by the release of heavy amounts of chloroprene in the atmosphere. This milestone federal lawsuit, filed on the behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accuses the manufacturer of violating the Clean Air Act, by presenting an ‘imminent and substantial endangerment to public health and welfare.’ Chloroprene is likely a cancerous chemical, released during the manufacture of neoprene, a widely-used synthetic rubber. Data collected by the EPA and Denka shows the chloroprene levels to be 14 times over the permissible amount in the vicinity of the Pontchartrain Works Facility.

Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta stated that the suit aims to “stop Denka’s dangerous pollution.” She also stated that the environmental justice effort of the department is to ensure that every community, irrespective of demographics, has access to safe air and clean drinking water.

The complaint is primarily based on the findings of a peer-reviewed assessment of chloroprene, published in 2010 by the EPA. The report concluded that chloroprene is ‘likely to be carcinogenic to humans.’ Denka, on the other hand, has denied the allegations citing the above study, claiming it to be ‘outdated and erroneous.’ The company has also responded by stating that the EPA is overstepping its authority by taking an ‘unprecedented step.’ Last year, the EPA reportedly stated that people of color in the neighborhood of the plant are greatly exposed to cancer risk. The EPA investigation was prompted by the aegis of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which clarifies that anyone receiving federal aid cannot pursue discrimination based on race and national origin. Besides the Japanese Denka, the lawsuit also names the American chemical company, DuPont, which acts as the landlord. The litigation asks Denka to “immediately take all necessary measures” to mitigate the chloroprene emission risks.

Companies should not be permitted to pollute the air with carcinogens for the sake of profits. Sign the petition below to demand Denka take the necessary steps to offset its potentially hazardous emissions.


Dear CEO Imai,

The Pontchartrain Works Facility in Louisiana has been accused by the Justice Department of violating the Clean Air Act, by presenting an imminent and substantial public health threat. The complaint filed on the behalf of the EPA asserts that the chloroprene emission from the facility over-exceeds the permissible limit. A peer-reviewed assessment published by the EPA in 2010 enlists chloroprene as likely to be a carcinogen.

Denka has argued that the EPA has overstepped its authority by taking an ‘unprecedented step.’ Denka’s assessment is based on the claim that the 2010 study is outdated, and needs further reviewing.

The Justice Department aims to put a stop to the dangerous pollution potentially caused by the facility. Data indicate that, in the vicinity of the manufacturing unit, the chloroprene level is more than 14 times over the permissible limit.

We demand the company takes the necessary steps and comply with the Clean Air Act.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Malcolm Lightbody

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