In a request filed last week, the Concerned Citizens of St. John urged the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to investigate cancer risks, recommend air pollution limits and join the group’s calls to shut down the Denka Performance Elastomer plant in Reserve, reports NOLA.com.
Denka spokesperson Jim Harris says the group’s accusations have been disproven, pointing to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data that indicates recent steps taken at the plant have reduced potential cancer risks by 85 percent, based on 2019 emissions.
The plant, owned by the Tokyo-based Denka Co., is the only one in the country that emits chloroprene, the main chemical used in the manufacture of neoprene, a rubber-like material used in beer koozies, laptop sleeves and wetsuits. The EPA determined chloroprene was a likely carcinogen more than a decade ago.
Early this month, Taylor’s group petitioned the EPA to take emergency measures to curb the plant’s emissions. Read the full story.