Railyard Exposes Houston Residents to Cancer-Causing Chemicals

Nov 4, 2020 | Toxic Exposure, Union

In 2019, a portion of Houston’s Fifth Ward was identified as a cancer cluster. This means that more people in this neighborhood are coming down with the deadly disease than the rest of us. But why?

Union Pacific Railroad Releases Carcinogens on a Houston Neighborhood

After an investigation, authorities have discovered creosote, a dangerous chemical, in the Fifth Ward’s drinking water. This chemical has been used by Union Pacific in the nearby Englewood Railyard since 1997.

Creosote is an oily liquid chemical that is slightly soluble. It is used to treat and preserve wood railroad ties, and it has been seeping into the ground and groundwater near Houston’s Fifth Ward and Kashmere Gardens for over twenty years. Now, investigators are linking the creosote in drinking water with disproportionately high rates of cancer in both of these local communities.

Silent Killers in Local Communities

The Environmental Protection Agency has identified creosote is a known carcinogen, and it has been used in the Englewood Railyard for more than 80 years. The Texas State Department of Health Services has recorded higher-than-normal rates of cancer in the area around the railyard, particularly lung and bronchus, esophagus, and larynx cancers.

The railyard has been owned by Union Pacific Railroad since 1996, and the company has been knowingly using the carcinogen creosote in its operations. Because the creosote exposure went undetected for years, the public was not made aware of the harms. In fact, the company did not warn residents of the potential harms they were facing from this chemical until 2014. And despite mounting evidence of the dangers of creosote in local drinking water, the company has refused to pursue any clean-up efforts.

Keeping Companies Accountable for Cancer-Causing Pollution
Companies like Union Pacific should not be allowed to carelessly pollute our drinking water, nor should they feel entitled to withhold information about chemical contamination they cause in our communities. But in all likelihood, they will continue to do so until they are held accountable for the damage done.

At Williams Hart, we help hold massive corporations accountable for their actions. Our skilled lawyers have the experience and resources to stand up against corporations who seem to think they are above the law. In doing so, we help you receive the reward you deserve from the harm they caused you. We can help you get compensation for your injury including medical expenses, cost of the future care, lost earnings, pain and suffering, punitive damages, and potentially more.

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer and lives in the Fifth Ward, there is a real chance that the railyard is responsible for this life-threatening injury. Our experienced attorneys can help you fight for justice. Contact us today for a 100% FREE initial consultation.

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