Denka is a chemical company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. Founded in 1912 in Hokkaido, it is the world’s largest manufacturer of neoprene, which is used to make a variety of products such as adhesives, beer cozys, gaskets hoses and wetsuits. It also makes cement and plastics like styrene. The company’s most controversial asset is a neoprene factory named the Pontchartrain Works facility, built by Dupont in 1968 in the town of Reserve, Louisiana. The 2018 U.S. National Air Toxics Assessment found that cancer risks in St. John the Baptist parish were as high as 1,505-in-1 million, 50 times higher than the U.S. national average. In a one mile radius around the plant, the population is 94 percent Black. The company was forced to withdraw claims that U.S. government risk levels for chloroprene were 156 times too high after a peer-review of company research showed major flaws. Later it emerged that Dupont sold the plant in order after learning that the government was likely to impose strict controls on the plant.
Basic chemicals, Agrochemicals, Petrochemicals, Pharmaceuticals, Construction materials
Offense Group: safety-related offense
Primary Offense: workplace safety or health violation
Level of Government: federal
Action Type: agency action
Agency: Occupational Safety & Health Administration
1012 Industry Report | May 25, 2021
In a request filed last week, the Concerned Citizens of St. John urged the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to investigate cancer risks, recommend air pollution limits and join the group’s calls to shut down the Denka Performance Elastomer plant in Reserve, reports NOLA.com.
Amid global uprising for racial justice, Concerned Citizens of St. John renew demand for Denka Co. Ltd. to adhere to EPA guidelines for toxic chemical emissions in predominantly Black community
University Network for Human Rights | June 19, 2020
Denka’s neoprene facility in St. John Parish, Louisiana continues to emit dangerous levels of the carcinogen chloroprene, nearly five years after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that residents living near the Denka facility face the highest risk in the country of developing cancer from air pollution due to chloroprene emissions.
The Rev. William Barnwell | The Lens | October 10, 2019
Rise St. James and the Concerned Citizens of St. John Parish can—along with many supporters—claim significant successes since our “Big March,” May 30th to June 3rd, 2019, in opposition of the petrochemical plants along the Mississippi from New Orleans to Baton Rouge.
The Rev. William Barnwell | The Lens | July 29, 2019
In spite of the important coverage the Lens has given to the cancer-causing emissions of petrochemical plants in St. James and St. John Parishes, most Louisiana readers must learn what’s going on from the national press.
Gavin Blair & Oliver Laughland | The Guardian | June 26, 2019
Residents of Reserve, Louisiana, have traveled to Tokyo to confront the executives and shareholders of a Japanese company which runs a chemical plant they say is responsible for a spike in cancers and a litany of other diseases in their home town – the town at the highest risk of cancer due to airborne toxicity ....
'They've been killing us for too long': Louisiana residents march in coalition against 'death alley'
Jamiles Lartey & Oliver Laughland | The Guardian | May 30, 2019
Demonstrators in Louisiana stepped off on a five-day march on Thursday, demanding environmental justice for a region besieged by toxic pollution from chemical plants.
Julie Dermansky | DeSmog | July 27, 2017
If you drive along one of the main streets in Louisiana’s St. John the Baptist Parish, you may encounter a large sign warning about chloroprene in the air. These signs let people know that chemical emissions from the nearby DuPont facility, now owned by Denka, can greatly increase the risk of cancer for those who live around it.
- A Community Voice
- Alliance for Affordable Energy
- Climate Reality New Orleans
- Coalition Against Death Alley
- Healthy Gulf
- Justice and Beyond
- Louisiana Bucket Brigade
- Louisiana League of Conscious Voters
- New Orleans Office Sierra Club
- Poor Peoples Campaign
- Sunrise Movement, New Orleans
- RISE St. James
- 350 New Orleans
Travis Lux | WWNO Public Radio | June 19, 2019
Over the last few years, Denka Performance Elastomer, a chemical plant in St. John the Baptist Parish, has been in trouble with the EPA for potential emissions violations. Now, Louisiana’s Department of Environmental Quality is planning to file a lawsuit against the company.
Oliver Laughland & Jamiles Lartey | The Guardian | June 12, 2019
Louisiana’s environment agency is poised to sue the two chemical companies associated with America’s only neoprene plant in the town of Reserve, the Guardian has learned. The legal action relates to alleged violations of the Clean Air Act and Louisiana state environmental laws.
Nick Reimann | Nola | May 1, 2019
A lawsuit to reduce or stop production at a LaPlace chemical plant will have another chance in front of a federal judge after being dismissed several weeks ago.
Andy Szal | Manufacturing.net | June 29, 2017
Federal regulators suggested that a Louisiana chemical plant repeatedly violated clean air laws by emitting a likely carcinogen into the surrounding environment.
LaPlace chemical plant, criticized for releasing 'likely carcinogen,' cited for 50 potential Clean Air Act violations
Della Hassle | Nola | June 25, 2017
After sending investigators into the Denka Performance Elastomer plant for five days last year to find out why it was discharging troubling amounts of chloroprene into the air, the Environmental Protection Agency has found that the LaPlace chemical manufacturer potentially violated the Clean Air Act about 50 times, according to a report.
Note: List may not be complete.
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Sara Sneath | Nola | March 13, 2020
Denka Performance Elastomer, the owner of a LaPlace plant that is the only one in America to produce the presumed carcinogen chloroprene, is asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to increase the level of that compound deemed safe for public health.
PR Newswire | November 4, 2015
Denka Company Limited (hereinafter "Denka") announced on November 4 that on October 31, 2015, Denka Performance Elastomer LLC (hereinafter "DPE"), a joint venture Denka has established in the United States with Mitsui & Co., Ltd. (hereinafter "Mitsui"), completed procedures for the transfer ....