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Weitz & Luxenberg Alerts Tonawanda, NY Residents to Benzene Emissions Emanating From Area Coke Plant and Possible Health Risks


Weitz & Luxenberg P.C. ( would like to alert the public to the unusually high number of residents in the Town of Tonawanda, New York, and surrounding areas who have reported developing fibromyalgia and several types of cancer. Such health problems may stem from or be exacerbated by the significant environmental air pollution in the area, including benzene emissions from the Tonawanda Coke Corp.

“Too many people in and around Tonawanda have lost family members and friends to cancer. These community members want answers to protect their families, their neighbors and future generations,” said Robin Greenwald, head of the Environmental and Toxic Torts unit at Weitz & Luxenberg.

A 2007-2008 joint study conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) determined that benzene levels in the area were up to 75 times higher than the DEC’s recommended guidelines.

The EPA classifies benzene as a human carcinogen. The Agency has determined that long-term inhalation of it can cause blood disorders and leukemia in occupational settings. Women who inhaled high levels of benzene have reported reproductive abnormalities.

The Tonawanda Coke Corporation operates as a merchant producer of foundry coke. There are over 50 air-regulated facilities in the region, yet data submitted by the company in 2006 indicated it was the area’s largest producer of benzene, at over 9,500 lbs. The plant, built in 1915, is on a 188-acre site on the Niagara River, approximately one mile north of Buffalo, NY. The facility has been subject to government environmental investigations, and, in September 2009, the NY Department of Justice filed a complaint on behalf of the EPA for alleged air pollution violations.

Weitz & Luxenberg’s environmental lawyers are no strangers to the fight to seek justice for those affected by harmful chemicals. This year, for example, the firm filed a lawsuit (No. 3:09-cv-54) against the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) on behalf of over 300 plaintiffs in Roane County and surrounding areas. That legal action was prompted by a dike breach at the TVA plant, which led to the spill of over a billion gallons of toxic coal fly ash waste.

Tonawanda communities have the right to a clean and safe environment free of pollution. Current or former residents may contact Weitz & Luxenberg at and obtain a free legal evaluation of their possible claim.

About Weitz & Luxenberg P.C.

Weitz & Luxenberg, founded in 1986, is one of the leading plaintiffs' litigation law firms in America. The firm has played leading roles in national and local litigations involving mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer, as well as defective medicines and medical devices such as shoulder pain pumps, Yaz birth control, Stryker hip implants, Zimmer Durom Hip implants, Heparin, Advanced Bionics cochlear implants, Hydroxycut, denture cream with zinc and Zicam, and general negligence and medical malpractice, among others. A forerunner in the legal fight against polluters, Weitz & Luxenberg has worked with clients harmed by the TVA coal ash sludge spill in Tennessee, industrial de-greasers PCE/TCE in groundwater and indoor air, the gasoline additive MTBE in water supply wells, and PERC/PCE in coal float-sink test operations.

Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C.
Client Relations Department

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