The Biden administration is compelling Denka Performance Elastomer to address the cancer risk posed by the toxic emissions it’s facility releases in the heart of a Black community, a half mile from a 300-student elementary school. Denka operates the only U.S. facility that makes neoprene, a synthetic rubber used for hoses, mousepads, and other products. Producing neoprene releases chloroprene, a cancer-causing chemical also linked to nervous, immune, and respiratory diseases.
Neoprene was invested at chemical giant Dupont, who owns the complex where Denka operates and is named by the federal attorneys as a party also responsible for reducing the plant’s pollution. Around 20 percent of the people living within two-and-a-half miles of Denka are under the age of 18, and children have bigger cancer risks from breathing chloroprene compared to adults. EPA Administrator Regan visited the Louisiana parish where Denka operates in 2021 but said in a statement yesterday, “The company has not moved far enough or fast enough to reduce emissions or ensure the safety of the surrounding community.” (AP, Axios, Grist, E&E $)