West Palm Beach, FL: Several families living in West Palm Beach have filed a potential class action lawsuit against Pratt & Whitney, alleging that pollutants from the company's plant in West Palm Beach have contaminated the Acreage area as well as other western communities.
According to the complaint, state health officials have confirmed a higher than normal rate of brain tumors among children in the Acreage area. "Beginning in the summer of 2009 and into early 2010, concerns emerged in The Acreage that an unusually large number of childhood cancer cases were being seen within the community. However, it was not until February 1, 2010 that the Palm Beach County Health department confirmed that The Acreage has a cancer cluster."
Pratt & Whitney has, according to the complaint, operated a plant in the area since the 1950s, which has, among other things, designed, developed and/or tested aviation rocket engines. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were used as dielectric hydrothermal heat exchangers at the test stands, and PCBs are a known carcinogen.
Further, the complaint states that waste products generated at the Pratt & Whitney plant have collected in percolation ponds, and been buried, stored and incinerated on the plant site. These waste products, the complaint alleges, include oil, sodium cyanide, thorium dispersed nickel, construction debris, unknown solid waste, solvents, solvent sludges, asbestos, fuel, paints, pesticide and herbicide residue, benzontrite, mercury, and commercial laboratory chemicals. Additionally, 1,4-dioxane is among the contaminants on site, and the US Department of Health and Human Services considers it to be a human carcinogen. The complaint also states that there have been several toxic leaks and spills on the plant site.
The class could involve as many as 10,000 homeowners who have "sustained diminution of their property values, as a result of the public revelation of the so-called 'cancer cluster' in The Acreage," the complaint states.