Cancer Alley: BCP Ingredients profile


Balchem is a chemical manufacturer that makes health and nutrition products for animal and humans. It was founded in 1967 and is headquartered in New Hampton, New York. One of its biggest subsidiaries is BCP Ingredients, which manufactures ethylene oxide, used in medical equipment sterilization, and choline chloride, which is used in animal feed for chickens and cows.

BCP IngredientsBCP Ingredients plant, St. Gabriel, Louisiana © Julie Dermansky

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) estimates  that the excess lifetime cancer risk from ethylene oxide emissions at the BCP Ingredients’ plant in St. Gabriel, Louisiana, was 47 times higher than acceptable limits.

“Toxic air emissions from industrial facilities are a problem that must be addressed,” Joe Goffman, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, told ProPublica, an investigative news website.

BCP Ingredients plant, St. Gabriel, Louisiana © Julie Dermansky

"You know they say they reduce them. We don't know if they reduce them or not because they self-report," Reginald Grace, a retired state worker from St. Gabriel and local activist, told the Advocate newspaper. "But the thing is, if we lose one or two people, three people to cancer and you don't know what the root cause of it is, it's not good, you see?"

(See the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Enforcement and Compliance History Online for Balchem's plants in St. Gabriel. Note that auto-display of data from this link may be disabled for some browsers. If so, copy the URL manually into a new browser window to see it.)

Outside Cancer Alley

The story at BCP Ingredients’ other ethylene oxide plant in Verona, Missouri, is similar - excess lifetime cancer risk from the company’s ethylene oxide emissions are 27 times greater than the EPA’s stated acceptable limit. The U.S. Occupational Safety & Hazardous Agency (OSHA) fined the Verona plant over $300,000 after 24 serious safety and health violations were found of worker exposure to toxic substances, combustible dust, and moving machinery.

The Verona plant (owned at the time by Hoffman-Taff which was bought by Sytex, which has since ceased operations) originally manufactured 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxy-acetic acid, a major component of Agent Orange herbicide used in the U.S. war in Vietnam, which has a by-product called dioxin, which is carcinogenic and deadly. It was designated a Superfund site – those judged to be the most toxic in the country by the EPA – and is currently being remediated.

To learn more about BCP Ingredients, see the CorpWatch Gulliver profile here. A complete list of CorpWatch's Cancer Alley profiles may be accessed here.

Quick Facts: BCP Ingredients

Environmental justice indicators within a one mile radius of Balchem's St. Gabriel plant (US EPA, 2022)

  • People of color in 1 mile proximity of plant: 73 percent
  • Poverty rate in 1 mile proximity of plant: 54 percent
  • Air quality: 90 µg of PM2.5 fine particulate matter/m3 (U.S. national standard: 12µg/m3)
  • Cancer risk from air toxics per million people: 88 (U.S. national standard: 1/million, actual average: 30/million)
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