West Dallas Lead Pollution Victims Still Seeking Justice All These Years Later

Categories: News
rsr9_ezr.jpg
The old RSR Corporation Lead Smelter, which contaminated some 14 surrounding miles
Late last month, West Dallas activist Otis Fagan turned up at City Hall backed by 20 or so other members of a group he calls the Clean Association for Environmental Justice, asking the city council to intervene on their behalf and help them get medical benefits he said they're guaranteed by a court decision years ago over pollution from the old West Dallas RSR lead smelter.

"The survivors are here because we have actual documentation the court had ordered for us to get medical treatment, and we have not received that," Fagan said. The activists punctuated the point by holding up copies of the court order that guarantees them medical treatment and blood screening.

For more 60 years, the RSR lead smelter in West Dallas polluted the surrounding community and sickened its residents. Lawsuits closed the smelter in the '80s, initiated a clean-up of the area in the '90s and guaranteed medical care for its victims, but years later people are still suffering from the after effects of lead poisoning and the mandate to provide care to its victims was never enforced.

Blood tests used to detect lead in the bloodstream were provided by the RSR Corporation, but Fagan says that is a far cry from the medical screenings and compensation guaranteed by the court order.

"Parkland will give them treatment, but will not pay their bills," Fagan said at the City Council meeting. "It's not right for them to have to pay the bill for someone else's contamination that was forced upon them."

Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway said he was making note of the group's repeated efforts and helped them schedule a meeting with City Attorney Tom Perkins. "You're being heard, but now we need to get you some action," Caraway told them at the meeting.

Since then, Fagan tells Unfair Park, his group has finally made a "modest impression with Perkins and the council," after two years of attending council meetings en masse.

"We have been petitioning the city for quite some time to assist us in getting medical treatment," Fagan says. "We've had nothing but difficulty in getting our point across that we are sick and dying from the exposure."

There is no official statistic for the number of deaths associated with the West Dallas lead contamination, but according to Fagan there have been as many as 11,000 deaths over a span of decades.

"As a young boy growing up in Dallas, ambulances ran day and night hauling bodies," Fagan recalls.

Fagan says that birth defects and illness caused by the contamination were common, though lead poisoning was rarely listed as a cause because at the time toxicology tests were rare and medical examinations were shallow.
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20 comments
johnsonmaxine78
johnsonmaxine78

My husband lived in West Dallas and went to Phyllis Wheatley Elem: he also played in the dump and at the levy much of the time. We have made an attempt to contact many of the people seen on the news programs as well as those heard on radio programs with no response's. any one who has any info. about the West Dallas Lead Law Suite please contact us at...


johnsonmaxine78@yahoo.com     Thank you

                                                 M.Johnson 

eshipman1224
eshipman1224

My mother and I have not heard anything about the lawsuite. I was born in 1974 and went to the daycare that was right by the plant. I lost my hair and was sick my mother as well. But it seems everyone has is being compensated but my family.  I have had aunts and uncles to died of cancer that lived in West Dallas as well.  If anyone knows how to contact the people in charge please call me at 469-286-6865 or email me at eshipman1224@gmail.com.

sonja40
sonja40

I have been trying to contact someone on this matter for the past 6 months and all i get is the run around. can someone please contact me at sjdavis05@swbell.net

Just want to know where my 80+ year old parents who lived in west dallas for well over 40 years can talk to or file some paper work on this matter

Petree' Morrison
Petree' Morrison

 im 40 and i seen alot of it the thing about it is man daddy usemta work there and he got sick wrkin there back then.he jus told me he went ta get checked bout 10 years ago and the didnt find none in him

Mary Rodgers
Mary Rodgers

It's not just in Dallas! New York Plant is a Super Fund site !

Mary Rodgers
Mary Rodgers

Just think of what the New York Plant has and is doing.

Dj35799
Dj35799

My Name is David Johnson and I lived in West Dallas from 74 to 96. I know I have lead in my blood system. How can I contact someone on this matter with the rest of the people claim.

Denisethibodeaux38
Denisethibodeaux38

Hello my name is Verdell Thomas, Im still waiting on the out come i have not heard anything since i sent documents pack could any give me information on who i should speak with. Please if you have any information you can reach me at 214-989-8246  Thank you for listening

Whearne11
Whearne11

Hey my name is Mr. William Hearne I need to talk to someone about this matter as soon as possible my e-mail is whearne11@gmail.com .

Teeslim13
Teeslim13

It appears the powers that be are waiting for all victims to die before they do the right thing through just compensation! There use to be meetings about this. When and where is the next one?

JRCALDWELLSR
JRCALDWELLSR

I WAS RAISED IN THE PROJECTS ON RUPERT STREET AND THE SMELL DAY AND NIGHT WAS TERRIBLE HEADACHES FOOD DID NOT TASTE RIGHT BREATHING PROBLEMS ASTHMA SHORT OF BREATH COULD NOT PLAY SPORTS EITHER AT SCHOOL OR AT HOME RUBBEROID WAS JUST AS BAD I AM IN MY 50'S NOW I CAME INTO THE GEORGE LOVING PROJECT WHEN I WAS 10 YEARS OLD

Guest
Guest

Sounds to me like another example showing that the free market works!

anonono
anonono

Its typical Environmental Justice, look it up. Its exactly why the oil refineries were in the Lower Wards East of New Orleans and why chemical plants etc always end up in the poorest communities.

Jim Schermbeck
Jim Schermbeck

West Dallas was, and remains the clearest local example of racism creating a homegrown environmental apartheid. Public housing right across the street from one of the largest lead smelters in the state, the lead-contaminated waste from this facility hauled off in trucks that dumped it illegally in random vacant lots throughout the low-income neighborhood, and heavy industry attracting other polluting heavy industry (a WR Grace plant just down the street dealt in asbestos-contaminated Vermiculite). Not to mention the low-wage, non-unionized employees of these facilities who literally carried the contamination home with them to their families.

West Dallas is filled with the walking wounded of this tragedy. They deserve so much more than what they're even asking for, which, considering the abuse, seems so little indeed.

One correction. It wasn't a lawsuit that resulted in the RSR smelter site being named a federal Superfund Site and eventually cleaned-up. It was good, old-fashioned community organizing by the residents themselves. They tested their own soil and attics and found high levels of lead almost decade after the smelter had closed. They held press conferences and protests. That brought official attention from EPA and the state, which had walked away from the facility. As is so often the case in West Dallas, it was a Do-It-Yourself project.

Ihavequestions
Ihavequestions

This is part of the 'collar of poison' surrounding Dallas. Frisco's lead, this crap, potential gas drilling, dirty air(DFW is not in containment) The City Council continues to give us all 'hand jobs'. When is someone going to get with the program and demand action?Welcome to Dal-troit.

Williejcollins
Williejcollins

My name is Willie J. Collins. Our family lived in West Dallas since 1934. I had 8 brothers and sisters. My dad and brother died from cancer. I have one sister withCancer currently. All of us suffer with bronchial problems. I came to Dallas last yearAnd got Dallas School records and sent to some person who was representing allPersons who lived in the West Dallas area. If anyone can get me the name of the law firm who was working out case, please email me at williejcollins@yahoo.com Thanks So Much

Mary Rodgers
Mary Rodgers

They have also done their share of damage in NY! I worked there for 18 years. My experience has taught me that they don't do anything unless taken to court. Production Production Production

Lathario13
Lathario13

As a child you have no choice on where you live and it appears this matter don't concern you but you are the suburban idiot!

Mary Rodgers
Mary Rodgers

They have also done their share of damage in NY! I worked there for 18 years. My experience has taught me that they don't do anything unless taken to court. Production Production Production

Mary Rodgers
Mary Rodgers

They have also done their share of damage in NY! I worked there for 18 years. My experience has taught me that they don't do anything unless taken to court. Production Production Production

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