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A Toxics-Free Future

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Corporate Accountability

India’s Andhra Pradesh State Government created a High Power Committee to investigate the LG tragedy which released its final report on 6 July 2020. The investigation revealed LG’s disregard for safety, raised the possibility of a double standard in LG operations in South Korea and India and revealed significant environmental pollution caused by LG’s massive styrene release.

Read IPEN’s brief below.

 

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) is the government legal body with expertise and jurisdiction over environmental matters. After LG's toxic release of styrene gas into a nearby residential area killing and injuring people, NGT convened an investigative committee.

Read IPEN’s summary and analysis of the NGT report | Timeline of the LG Tragedy

The NGT investigative committee delivered a critical final report on 28 May 2020 which concluded that LG’s “gross human failure” and the company’s lack of basic safety equipment and procedures caused the tragedy. The committee noted that, “The root cause thus appears to be the lack of experience of LG Polymers India and their Korean principal, LG Chem, in monitoring and maintaining full tanks of styrene that were idled for a long period of several weeks without operation.”

Key findings of the report include the following:

A man carrying an unconscious child runs for help during the evacuation. (CNN)

Absolute liability should be applied in deaths and injuries at its plastics factory in India

Polystyrene plastic is familiar to consumers in the form of coffee cups and take-out food containers. However, many people do not realize that the building block of this common plastic – styrene – is a probable human carcinogen with a variety of toxic effects. The recent LG tragedy in India demonstrates the toxicity of polystyrene production on community residents. The parent company and its Indian subsidiary should be held fully accountable and absolute liability should be applied.

The letter asks the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to rescind or replace its "free pass to pollute" policy allowing companies to suspend critical health and safety monitoring with no public disclosure during the coronavirus pandemic.The U.S. EPA and Congress should be working to protect communities and workers, not unnecessarily endangering them by making them more vulnerable to disease from toxic pollution in the middle of a global pandemic. 

On the 35th anniversary of the poisoning disaster in Bhopal, India, where thousands of people were immediately killed and hundreds of thousands of people injured from exposure to a leak of methyl isocyanate and other gases, the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (ICJB), Pesticide Action Network (PAN) and other organizations are demanding action: