Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | May 26, 2009

Kentucky lawyer Sanders says Missouri famers sue Prime Tanning and allege sludge given to them contained hexavalent chromium, a human carcinogen.

Prime Tanning Co., the former owner of a St. Joseph, Mo., tannery, is being sued over health concerns related to allegations that the plant’s sludge contained hexavalent chromium, a known human carcinogen.  

Prime Tanning apparently gave tons of dewatered sludge from the plant to farmers to spread on their fields for use as fertilizer. As a result, sludge from the plant has been spread on thousands of acres of farmland in northwest Missouri since 1983

Lawsuits filed last month claim that the sludge contained hexavalent chromium.  The suit alleged a link between the sludge and brain tumors occurring in the area.  

In response to the lawsuit, Prime Tanning denies the link between the personal injuries alleged in the complaint and its sludge.  The company also denies the existence of hexavalent chromium in the plant’s sludge.

Hexavalent chromium compounds are a group of chemical substances that contain the metallic element chromium in its positive-6 valence (hexavalent) state.

Chromium occurs in the environment primarily in two valence states, trivalent chromium and hexavalent chromium.  Chromium III is much less toxic than hexavalent chromium.  The respiratory tract is also the major target organ for chromium toxicity.

Indeed, according to research reports, hexavalent chromium will cause an increased risk of lung cancer. Other adverse health effects associated with hexavalent chromium exposure include dermal irritation, skin ulceration, allergic contact dermatitis, occupational asthma, nasal irritation and ulceration, perforated nasal septa, rhinitis, nosebleed, respiratory irritation, nasal cancer, sinus cancer, eye irritation and damage, perforated eardrums, kidney damage, liver damage, pulmonary congestion and edema, epigastric pain, and erosion and discoloration of the teeth.

Look for U.S. EPA to become involved in this matter, if hexavalent chromium is found in samples of the sludge applied to farmers’ fields in Missouri.

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Responses

  1. Sounds likes some environmental manager screwed up on this one. If the sludge contains hexavalent chromium, it is going cost millions to clean up.

    • It is too early to point a finger at anyone. Let’s source out the facts and find out what really happened at this plant.

      I do agree that it will be expensive to clean up sludge contaminated with hexavalent chromium, especially if the sludge is spread atop a large number of fields.


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