Union Pacific Railroad Yard Exposes Houston Residents to Carcinogens

May 4, 2021 | Local Unions, Toxic Exposure

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?

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. 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 as a known carcinogen. 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 cancer rates 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. The company has been knowingly using the carcinogen creosote in its operations. Because the creosote exposure went undetected for years, without public knowledge of this harm. 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 the 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 & Boundas, 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 future care, lost earnings, pain and suffering, punitive damages, and potentially more.

If you or someone you know lives in Fifth Ward, Houston, and has been diagnosed with cancer. In that case, there is a real chance that the pacific union 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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