Blackwell is a town of 7,000 located in north-central Oklahoma. The community is contaminated with 58 million pounds of lead, arsenic, and other toxins left behind by the Blackwell Zinc Smelter, at one time the largest smelter of its type in the world. As successor-in-interest to the company that owned the smelter, Freeport-McMoRan is legally responsible for any related contamination.
Exposure to lead and arsenic can cause a wide variety of serious health problems. The lawsuit demands that the defendants thoroughly and completely clean all property contaminated by the smelter waste and provide for a medical-monitoring program open to all Blackwell residents.
The suit was filed earlier this year in Kay County, Oklahoma, but was removed at the defendants' request to a federal court in Oklahoma City.