Tony Brown Faire's Blog

Lets talk about the issues even if it is uncomfortable.

West Dallas smelter clouds of death

Tony Brown Faire

Tony Brown Faire

By TONY BROWN FAIRE
The Dallas Examiner

There are many victims in West Dallas who have suffered because of the factories that were allowed to operate unchecked for many years as pollution was spewed into the air, harming and killing local West Dallas residents. According to the results of the 2002 Parkland Lead Study, released on August 31, 2004, “Although West Dallas comprises about 15 percent of the population of Dallas County; the area produces more than 40 percent of the county’s toxic air pollution.”
One of the main contributors of the clouds of death was a company known as RSR, a lead smelting company located in West Dallas. The Agency for Toxic Substance & Disease Registry did a Public Health Assessment that read as follows, “The RSR Corporation National Priority List (NPL) site, also known as West Dallas Lead, includes the facility formerly associated with the RSR Corporation Lead Smelter and the surrounding 13.6 square miles of residential, commercial, and industrial property of West Dallas, Dallas County, Texas that were contaminated with lead from RSR. This contamination resulted from historical air emissions from the RSR lead smelter, the use of battery chips and slag as residential fill, and the disposal of battery chips and slag in landfills and dumps.”
This company knowingly placed harmful material into the yards of West Dallas residents and spewed pollution into the air daily. The fact that this factory area of damage was 13.6 square miles is alarming and causes great concern as to how many people actually got the help needed when the clean up was begun.
However, the RSR smelter was not the only factory putting pollutants into the air of West Dallas. The City of Dallas allowed other factories to operate in the West Dallas area and asbestos and other poisons were released not far from homes and residences of public housing.
According to the Parkland Study, the city of Dallas had been aware of the dangers the factories posed the residents since 1966 and had conducted blood lead contamination tests. Likewise, they were aware that in 1983, residents of West Dallas won the largest out of court settlement ever in a lead pollution case in the country, due to the enormity of the contamination from the RSR lead smelter. Yet, the city allowed people to not only live close to these factories, but allowed Thomas Edison Junior High School to continue operating across the street from the to the smelter. In fact, four additional schools were built in the area and HUD planned the renovation of the area’s public housing with the intent to move 2,000 additional residents into the area, despite the fact that RSR had just settled. Why would the city allow this, knowing the health hazards that existed? Some citizens believe it was racially motivated. In fact, in 1991, the West Dallas Coalition for Environmental Justice, founded by Luis Sepulveda sued the city of Dallas, the state of Texas, and the Federal EPA for “environmental racism.”
In West Dallas Coalition for Environmental Justice v. Browner, the Coalition did not ask for damages. Instead they asked for blood screening of residents, medical checkups, and a buffer zone between factories and homes.
Juanita Wallace, president of the Dallas NAACP, also believes racism is the underlying cause that allows the city to continue to ignore complaints that the residents are still getting sick and believes there could be issues of racism as to how the citizens of color where not relocated or properly compensated from the damages the factories caused in the West Dallas area.
In a Nov. 27, 1992 interview with Steve Curwood on the radio program, Life on Earth, Jim Schermbeck, a community organizer for the group Texans United, said “…if you look back at the documents of the time, when they’re starting to build the housing project in West Dallas, you’ll see statements like, you know, there’s a lead smelter over there and we probably shouldn’t put people over there but we’re gonna do it anyway. As they knew more and more about the problems of the lead smelter, they moved White elderly folk out of that West Dallas project and into other locations around the city and left behind primarily African American, some Hispanic residents there.”
The RSR was deemed a Superfund Site in 1993 after operating from 1934 until 1984. When an area that has been contaminated is deemed a Superfund Site a massive cleanup is then scheduled. Between 1991 and 1994 the EPA removed soil in 420 additional areas, including some private residences in West Dallas. However many residents of West Dallas claim no one ever came to clean up their properties.
According to journalist Terry Fitzpatrick, who reported extensively on the issue, “Residents of West Dallas took the problem to court in the mid-1980’s on behalf of 370 lead-poisoned children. They won $20 million dollars from one of the lead smelting companies, and an area within one mile of its plant was supposedly cleaned up. Regulators considered the case closed. But many West Dallas residents did not.”
One such resident is Lena Hayes who has lived in West Dallas since 1948 and has never lived more than 1.5 miles from the RSR lead smelter. Mrs. Hayes son, Nathan D. Hayes died November 23, 1995 at the age of 29 years old.
“Nathan was always sick as a child,” Mrs. Hayes said. A medical summary dated June 1, 1983 by a Dr. Agnes D. Lattimer stated Nathan was admitted to the hospital at 22 months of age because he was suspected of having lead poison. According to the report Nathan showed many of the signs of lead toxicity. However, Mrs. Hayes said that she was not informed of the possibility of lead poison when she took him to the hospital. She stated they only gave her iron pills for Nathan because he was anemic. She states she only found out about the lead poison when she was provided the medical narrative by lawyers from the law office of Baron & Bud when Nathan was 16-years-old, 14 years later. Mrs. Hayes believes Nathan could have gotten lead poisoning from playing in her backyard, which she said contained old battery parts that had been broken up and left in the yard by the RSR lead smelter. The children would sometimes have dirt on their fingers and put them in their mouths, ingesting contaminated soil. However, it is likely they also breathed in the contaminated air. Mrs. Hayes recalls that when her children were babies, she would hang their diapers out the night before, clean and white, but by the next morning, the diapers were gray and dingy from the night air, polluted by the smelter, which would operate throughout the evening.
Nathan was one of the 350 children represented in a lawsuit for lead poisoning handled by Fred Baron of the law office of Baron & Bud. Mrs. Hayes stated that her son received $290 per month for 10 years, totaling $34,800. Nathan died in 1997. Two years later they gave her another $15,000 from Nathans estate. However, when Mrs. Hayes contacted the law office and spoke to Baron about money for the funeral she says he said he could not give her money to bury her son. The total money received by Nathan and Mrs. Hayes was $49,800.
Nathan is not the only victim Mrs. Hayes believes her husband, the late Norman Hayes, also died because of lead contamination. The Hayes’s own a tire shop in West Dallas and her husband dug an area in back of the shop. A few months later, he became ill, dying May 20, 1983. She believes coming into contact with the old battery casings and lead contaminates at the shop caused his demise.
This story of the Hayes family, although sad, is not the only one of its kind in West Dallas. There are many waiting to tell their story and to hopefully one day get justice for themselves and love ones now deceased.
Comment on this story.

Lena Hayes holds picture of deceased son Nathan Hayes

Lena Hayes holds picture of deceased son Nathan Hayes

About these ads

May 29, 2009 - Posted by | Dallas Examiner Stories | , , , , , ,

37 Comments »

  1. [...] West Dallas smelter clouds of death [...]

    Pingback by Mesothelioma News - Asbestos Complicates Demo in Arkansas | May 29, 2009 | Reply

  2. This is a very sad case… I also have lived in West Dallas all my life since 1964 and never recieved in money from the lead smelter in West Dallas I was born and raised on Baker steet..some of my sibbling did recieved money from the smelter but we were told that they were only working on the kid case then they would work on the adults but nothing has happen yet and its been 14yrs.

    Comment by Mary Dudley | October 19, 2009 | Reply

  3. HELLO

    I READ YOUR STORY ON THE HAYES FAMILY THAT WERE AFFECTED BY THE WEST DALLAS LEAD SMELTERS. I KNOW THE HAYES FAMILY QUITE WELL. VERY NICE AND REAL PEOPLE. MY HEART WENT OUT TO THE FAMILY WHEN NATE PASSED AWAY.

    I AM A 40 YEAR OLD WOMEN, WHOM LIVED WITH MY FAMILY AS A CHILD BACK IN THE 80′S THERE IN WEST DALLAS. I PLAYED AT THE BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB. I WENT SWIMMING THERE NEXT TO EDISON JR HIGH AS WELL AS DOING OTHER CHILD HOOD THINGS THERE.

    THE WAY I CAME ACROSS YOUR BLOG WAS LOOKING FOR ANY INFO REFERRING TO THE LEAD PROBLEM THERE IN WEST DALLAS. ITS NICE TO KNOW PEOPLE ARE STILL TRYING TO PUT IT OUT THERE.
    I MYSELF WAS DIAGNOISED BEING 2 OR 3 LEVELS OVER THE NORMAL LIMITS( EVIROMENTALLY EXSPOSED). AROUND THE TIME LIVING THERE, I DEVELOPED DIABETES, AND NOW HAVE PROBLEMS WITH MY EYES. MY MOTHER HAS JOINT PROBLEMS, MY BROTHER AND SISTER HAVE NOSE BLEEDS , AND SINUS PROBLEMS THAT LEAD TO A SERIOUS SURGERY. I HAD A FRIEND THEN THAT HAD A BABY THAT HAD HAND AND FOOT DEFORMITIES, AND ONE THAT HAD SEVERAL STROKES. THERE ARE COUNTLESS OTHERS WITH PROBLEMS AND DIFFERENT SCENERIOS.

    ITS REALLY SAD THAT THE GOVERNMENT,CITY OR EVEN ATTORNEY’S DONT SEEM TO CARE ABOUT THE RESIDENTS OF WEST DALLAS. MAYBE IT HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH WHO THE MAJORITY IS THERE? HMMM?

    I READ AWHILE BACK ON A SMALL TOWN THAT SUED OZARKA WATER FOR CONTAMINATAING THE WATER THERE. WELL, EVERYONE AFFECTED RECIEVED 1.000.000.00 DOLLARS! WOW! MAYBE IT WAS GIVING BECAUSE OF THE MAJORITY THERE AS WELL?

    THANKS FOR PUTTING IT OUT THERE

    ANDREA

    Comment by ANDREA | March 2, 2010 | Reply

  4. is there a classaction lawsut going on now

    Comment by tamaka graham | April 25, 2010 | Reply

  5. I can relate to this story so well my mother passed at the age of 49 from cancer in 2005 she was born in 1956 and lived in West Dallas until the mid 80′s and her mother my grandmother lived in West Dallas as well and she passed of cancer in 2008. My mother was a participant in the lawsuit against the lead smelter and I have continued on for her and my grandmother since their deaths. Myself and my siblings lived in West Dallas as well I was born in 1971 and we lived in West Dallas until the mid 80′s and I gave birth prematurely to my daughter at 28 weeks and believe this was due to me living in West Dallas because there was no other reason for me to deliver early. We had a cut off of last Friday to provide documented proof that we lived in West Dallas during the lead smelter time is was open. I cant bring back my mother or grandmother but I pray that myself and my siblings receive something for our loss of two beautiful women that meant the world to us..

    Comment by Pamela Dean | August 1, 2010 | Reply

    • yes i trulely understand your pain. I am to from west dallas born 1973.my mom died at age 37 my aunt died at 40 my other aunt was 51 my grandma at 65 all heart problems. we lived in west dallas for 30+ years.I was told to send in information as well for the law suit I sent my things real copies hve not heard a word. I think this thing should be more organized and we should not be treated as the problem we are victims.god bless us all

      Comment by tammy smalley | September 19, 2010 | Reply

  6. In my journey of pursuing the lawsuit along with my mother’s best friend Dorothy Webb. We have found that some received funds that didn’t live in West Dallas at all but had family that did. This is so sad because I know of so many that have passed on from cancer and other illnesses and they all resided out in West Dallas. Patricia Scott is the contact that we are dealing with regarding the suit. My prayer is that this issue in West Dallas is not pushed aside and becomes a forgotten tragedy..

    Comment by Pamela Dean | August 1, 2010 | Reply

    • who is patricia scott and how does she play a part in the lawsuits,how can she be contacted

      Comment by Gladys | September 24, 2010 | Reply

    • Has anyone gotten a response from Patricia Scott and a subsequent settlement with the information they sent in? I am trying to confirm that this is not a scam. My hope is that it is not. I lived in West Dallas and have had numerous family members die of cancer within the past 7 years.

      Comment by george gomez | October 7, 2010 | Reply

    • How long will this lawsuit take or what is Patricia Scott doing for the people. We have filed since last June, 2010. Haven’t heard anything yet.

      Comment by Vivian Herrera | March 8, 2011 | Reply

    • Hello Pamela, my name is Vivian Jackson. My family lived in West Dallas as well for most of my life – 1957 until 1980. If you have any information regarding a pending suit, please let me know. vjackson@airmail.net. Thank you.

      Comment by Vivian Jackson | August 24, 2011 | Reply

  7. I would love to find out more information on this, my husband worked for that company years ago and he has been dianosed with lead poisoning in his blood and have been very sick

    Comment by Janet Joe | August 10, 2010 | Reply

  8. i was a resident of west dallas project near RSR Corp. went to school at Thomas A Edison Middle School and i have schoolmate who reletive is very sick. they did us wrong by saving the white people life,moving them out from the poison and keeping us black residents famlies in west dallas poisoning housing project.

    Comment by william kelly,jr | August 29, 2010 | Reply

  9. How can i contact patricia scott

    Comment by Gladys | September 24, 2010 | Reply

  10. My brother passed away in his early 50′s from heart attack. He has always suffered with ashma and he had an enlarged heart. My mother passed away in her early 60′s. She died from cancer and they don’t know what kind of cancer or where it began. I was affected by lead poisoning. Fortunately for me I was taken out of the area at the age of 12. My sister is in her late 50′s and has been diagnosed as diabetic. She has high blood pressure and was also diagnosed with a liver disease.

    Comment by Toni Work | September 27, 2010 | Reply

  11. This is Toni Work again. My point is we all grew up in West Dallas as well as in Oak Cliff near the Trinity River. Most of the people I grew up with died at a very young age. The kids I went to school with dropped out of school. There has to be a connection. My 3 childhood friends all have lost siblings at a really young age. And we all have some common health issues.

    Comment by Toni Work | September 27, 2010 | Reply

  12. HELLO MY NAME IS TAMAKA GRAHAM HOPEFULY THERE IS A CLASSACTION LAW SUIT PENDING OUT THERE SO THAT WAY FOR THOSE CAN GET PART OF THAT MONEY.CAUSE SOME PEOPLE DIDNT GET ANY SOME GOT SOME IN WAS NOT SUPPORT TO GET SOME FOR PEOPLE LIKE MYSELF THAT LEAD POSION CAUSE ALOT OF PEOPLE HEATH PROBLEM LIKE MY FAMILY IT MAD SOME SICK SOME PEOPLE IN MY FAMILY PASS AWAY.

    Comment by tamaka graham | September 29, 2010 | Reply

    • So has a classaction suit ever been brought against this company, it seems you can never find any information worth following up on for this subject, I heard a couple weeks ago that someone said they were paying people again for this problem but you can never get any contact information on who you need to talk to, please help for my husband is 58 years old now I find it very unfair that all his health problems steem from aroung the work environment he was forced to work in.

      Comment by Janet Joe | November 30, 2011 | Reply

  13. I recently heard that some individuals are now getting checks from the lead smelter lawsuit. I don’t know how true it is and some of us know nothing of it at all. It is misfortunate that those of us who were really affected received nothing at all. This has been an amazing mess. I can recall the smell as I sit here today conditioned to the stinch in the air and the terrible smell in the water that we drank.

    Comment by AMoore | October 7, 2010 | Reply

  14. we moved to west dallas housing projects in 1974,my daughter attended maro booth daycare center when it was on pointer and toronto street, my mother use to live on poinnter street and had a day home everyday she would be on her knees diging in the black soil outside planting a garden,my mother died of breast cancer in 1992,,,,,i miss her very much she was my best friend…………. my sister loretta garrett also died of breastcancer @ the age of 49 she lived on applegrove in west dallas…….please help the people who lived in west Dallas

    Comment by Linda stevenson- vickers | October 10, 2010 | Reply

  15. My family live in West Dallas from 1966 to Present. And we went to schools in West Dallas. We lived right down the street from the Lead Plant on Pointer St. We ate at the Good Luck, Swim in Edison Pool, went to Edison and I also went to a nursury next to the school. We lost our father in Dec. 2009. We never got any money from any lawsuit. And most off my family have medical problems I’m sure due to this lead plant. Who do we contact concerning this matter?

    Comment by Chandra Wynn | October 21, 2010 | Reply

  16. I want to know what going on with the older residents of west dallas public housing who live there in the 60s and 70s that send info to Ms.Scott about the settlement, is the case in court? please inform me by e-mail and my information have already been submitted to Ms.P.Scott for this settlement case.

    Comment by william kelly,jr | October 31, 2010 | Reply

  17. I’ve giving all my information to patrica scott but haven’t heard anything back I’ve moved in last contact do anyone have her number

    Comment by Vonda L | November 5, 2010 | Reply

  18. I have had several medical pronlems that I haven’t known where they came from I lived in west when I was 7 and moved away when I was 15 and attend school there down the street from the plant and never know that it was that much danger in my neighborhood. I don’t knnow how much time I have left but I have filed with others about the lawsuit and hope that if not me my childrens will have some kind of benifit from my short life. I hope others out there find some kind of confort and resolution to hadle what is happening to them now.

    Comment by pamela clark | February 27, 2011 | Reply

  19. Can you help us?If so call me @214-815-4535 Thanks

    Comment by Brandon Gaines | March 13, 2011 | Reply

  20. Hello what these people are saying is is right i live in west DALLAS on baker st went to 3-school there my mother pass away to young,i got health problem now.and about the law suit whoever in charge need to put it back out there I did not recieved anything i paid one man 25.00 in 2001 have heard anything yet. so if you could help the people that got left out that money will be a blessing to the family that having time right now, I think it unfair that some got it some did not we all live there in i was there in the 70s now i lost my two brothers one w/cancer other kidney problem.

    Comment by j.f. davis | March 17, 2011 | Reply

  21. We keep reading about the losses due to the smelter but hear nothing about compensatory damages. Does anyone know anything about the legal firm that is handling the lawsuit?

    Comment by Nia Blanchard | May 10, 2011 | Reply

  22. Hello my name is Greg I was born and raised in west dallas on august 8,1977 is their someone to represent us on a lawsuit.

    Comment by Gregory | July 25, 2011 | Reply

  23. Hello, I am here reading about the LEAD Poisoning in West Dallas and wonder is there still lead in the ground and are people still have illness from the Lead? I have a friend moving to this area and my nieces will be visiting a lot., this is a issue . I know lead poison can cause learning disability and also behavior problems. So I know I need to do more research and I will get back to this web site to keep in touch.

    Comment by jladyfields | August 7, 2011 | Reply

  24. I trying to find out if there will be another class action suit on the lead plant in west dallas i lived there my entire life and one reason i came forward is because of my mom health. She is not with us anymore because she passed away in 89 of diabetes and she did not have it until 88. I myself and my brothers and sisters both should have some type of lead in our systems.

    Comment by david johnson | September 29, 2011 | Reply

  25. What’s happening as of this date, there has been several meetings about the lead settlement? 7/10/12. I lived and grew up in west dallas in1954, I had a mother, father, and sister that have passed.

    Comment by Ora Pratt | July 10, 2012 | Reply

  26. I too am working with Patricia Scott regarding the Lead lawsuit but I havent heard anything since sending all my documentation to her. I know no more than I did 2 years ago of my submittal I dont even know the attorneys names that are working on the case its the same answers every time you call her. At times I wonder if the new lawsuit is a hoax. I pray that it isnt because that would be like adding salt to a wound.

    Comment by Monique Johnson | October 17, 2012 | Reply

  27. My name is Julia Dobbins and I was born in West Dallas in 1954. I have had health problems since I was born and still have problems. I have seizures which I have had since I was a baby. I have hypertension and am being treated with what they say is Lupus with major joint pain. I would like to have more information or a place that I can find information to be tested for this problem. I moved from the West Dallas area in 1960, but was always told that the Smelting plant was a very major problem near the housing project. I would like to get more information to join the lawsuit. I was told earlier in the 1970 or 1980′s that they were not covering people that lived there at that time. I have since read that this problem had been in that are since the early 1930′s. Please send me information on how to get involved in this lawsuit as I am having a lot of medical bills that I am sure were caused by this problem. My e-mail address is: dd_dobbins@yahoo.com or dd_dobbins@at.net.

    Comment by Julia Dobbins | December 29, 2012 | Reply

  28. I too regained my school records from DISD on Ross Ave. in late 2009. I mailed them to Patricia Scott. I lived in west Dallas in 1960 on Rupert St. Iam the wife of a West Dalllas resident whose entire family resided from 1956 untill late 1980s. we all are suffering physically from migranes to RA. my brother was born without a rectum and my mother passed away thinking itwas her fault. We all must stick together on this problem. I feel that we were racially targeted all who lived in West Dallas in this time era. May God help us all.

    Comment by C.Timmons | March 19, 2013 | Reply

  29. My ex-husband, Clyde E. Cornist, worked for RSR during the late 70′s to the 80′s and was never compensated. Myself and my three boys would wait for him to get off work when he had to shower before leaving the facility., My sons were immunized at the West Dallas clinic , and we lived about a 10 minute drive and I worked at Sanger Harris and Proline Corp, Recently my grandson had a cancerous tumor in his kidney, and my brother who lived with me has lung cancer, how are we not affected? I was sick unto death in 2002 but by the grace of God I lived.. I also lost a limb during my sickness. Where is our compensation? We did turn in applications to Bro. Marvin Davis. Hopefully we will hear something soon. Lord willing!

    Comment by Sybil Frazier | May 2, 2013 | Reply

  30. How do I contact attorney patricia scott dallas texas????

    Comment by Anthony Walker | January 23, 2014 | Reply


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: