Sixteen residents have filed a lawsuit to stop Bayer CropScience from using a toxic chemical at a West Virginia plant where an explosion killed two workers in August 2008.
The lawsuit in federal court seeks an order barring Bayer from using or producing methyl isocyanate (MIC) until several conditions are met.
The residents want:
- EPA and OSHA to conduct inspections at the plant and declare it safe
- Bayer to adopt recommendations contained in a report from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB), and
- the National Academy of Sciences to complete its study of “inherent safety issues presented by the production of MIC in a major population center such as Kanawha County, WV.”
The suit claims using MIC at the plant could put up to 300,000 residents at risk.
The 2008 fatal explosion released toxic chemicals inside the plant, but not into the atmosphere. Thousands of Kanawha County residents were told to “shelter in place” (stay inside) in the hours after the mishap.
The CSB released findings of its investigation into the Bayer explosion earlier this year. The report criticized Bayer for not applying standard pre-startup safety reviews. It also listed pressure to resume production as a key factor in the explosion.
Bayer has had no comment on the lawsuit.