Lawsuit: Copper pollution caused life-threatening illnesses in Sauget

News-DemocratJune 11, 2014 

A copper recycling company in Sauget allegedly released cancer-causing toxins into the environment for more than 80 years, according to recently filed lawsuits.

The lawsuits represents 99 people who have lived near the Cerro Flow Products facility in the 3000 block of Mississippi Ave. in Sauget. The residents are suing Cerro and Marmon Group, a management company, for allegedly causing health conditions and contaminating the environment.

The lawsuits were filed last week in St. Clair County Circuit Court. The companies have not yet answered the complaints and Cerro officials could not be reached for comment. Marmon Group spokesman David Dees declined to comment because the lawsuit was ongoing.

The residents allege Cerro has released dioxins and furans, "some of the most toxic chemicals on Earth," into the air through burning contaminated scrap items and releasing wastewater into nearby Dead Creek since at least 1927.

The alleged contamination has caused cancer and other life-threatening disease to residents neighboring the site, according to court documents. The lawsuit further alleges the companies knew of the health risks for decades, but never warned residents of the contamination or attempted to protect them.

Alleged contamination from Cerro and other nearby industrial businesses in Sauget have spurred separate lawsuits in federal and state courts.

State and federal agencies also are currently determining whether companies formerly based in the industrial corridor should be responsible for the cleanup of contamination on 381 acres on 11 sites in Sauget, Cahokia and East St. Louis.

Contact reporter Daniel Kelley at dkelley@bnd.com or 618-239-2501.

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