Chemical Plant Faces Lawsuit for Knowingly Exposing Workers to Hazardous Mercury Levels: Over 150 Plaintiffs Joining the Case

Charleston, Tennessee – A recently filed lawsuit alleges that a chemical plant in Charleston knowingly exposed over 100 workers and their families to hazardous levels of mercury. The lawsuit, known as a “mass tort” lawsuit, has garnered more than 150 plaintiffs so far, with lawyers expecting that number to rise above 200.

The lawsuit comes after an investigation by the Tennessee Mercury Investigation (TMI) into potential mercury contamination resulting from operations at the Olin Chlor-Alkali plant. The investigation highlights that the plant initially employed a mercury cell method, which utilized recirculated elemental mercury. Unfortunately, this process exposed employees and contractors to dangerously high levels of mercury and mercury vapor.

According to TMI, the entire production facility at the Charleston site was contaminated with mercury vapor. This raises concerns due to the classification of high mercury exposure as one of the top 10 chemicals of major public health concern, according to the World Health Organization. Exposure to mercury carries serious medical risks.

Furthermore, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that the Hiwassee River’s watershed is “impaired” due to the detection of mercury in the water. However, TMI acknowledges that the EPA has yet to release major reports specifically addressing the Charleston plant or its surrounding environment.

In addition to the mercury contamination, TMI also points out that the Olin plant has been the subject of previous complaints. Notably, the plant was responsible for a significant release of chlorine into the Hiwassee River in the past.

TMI is urging former Olin employees and their family members to contact them if they worked at the Charleston facility. The organization has set up a survey on their website for those who wish to provide information.

As this story continues to unfold, the Cleveland Daily Banner will provide regular updates in both its print and online editions, ensuring the community stays informed about this ongoing legal matter.