West Virginians Sue Over Plans to Use Toxic Chemical

West Virginians Sue Over Plans to Use Toxic ChemicalSeveral Kanawha County, West Virginia residents have filed a toxic substances lawsuit against Bayer CropScience, seeking to block the use of toxic chemical methyl isocyanate (MIC) until several safety conditions are met.

The plaintiffs wish Bayer to demonstrate that it has met the safety updates recommended to it after a 2008 explosion that allegedly involved MIC and killed two workers, according to The Associated Press. The plaintiffs compare that explosion to an MIC leak in India that resulted in an allegedly similar incident and killed thousands of people.

The toxic substances lawsuit claims that the kind of MIC use that Bayer plans has never been done in the U.S., and would constitute "an uncontrolled experiment being conducted in a major population center in which 300,000 citizens reside."

According to the Charleston Daily Mail, Bayer has responded to the litigation by claiming it has thoroughly trained employees, invested $25 million in new safety equipment and procedures, and decreased the planned storage of the chemical by 80 percent. For all these reasons, the statement said, the company is "fully dedicated to a safe startup of these operations and remain confident that we will meet our own high expectations, as well as those of our neighbors and community."