"The smell will drive you crazy..."
Uretek, a polyurethane manufacturing factory that is surrounded by residential homes and schools, consistently produces noxious chemical smells - especially at night. Driving or walking by, the foul odor can be overwhelming, and even blocks away, the fumes invade. The potential "danger" of these emissions is a serious concern, compounded by the billowing black smoke recently seen billowing from the factory, as well as the company's disturbing history of air pollution.
“’The smell would drive you crazy,’ said Louis Lopez, a 44-year-old mechanic who has worked for Uretek since 1984.” In December 1986, The New York Times covered a controversial employee strike at Uretek Inc. Uretek workers walked off the job due to health and safety concerns, specifically regarding the solvent dimethylformamide, or DMF, which is used at the plant. They claimed that fumes sickened half of the 66 workers at the plant. Later, testing by Yale confirmed the damage: 36 of the tested employees had ''significant liver-function abnormalities,'' and ten were diagnosed with toxic hepatitis, findings that, according to the doctor, were ''overwhelmingly'' linked to DMF*
The workers’ health problems in 1986 were “not the first time that Uretek has been accused of wrongdoing,” according to the Times article. In 1984, the Uretek vice president John Andrews was convicted on felony charges of illegally storing and disposing of hazardous waste – making it “the first time a corporation in Connecticut had been convicted of such a criminal offense in a trial.”
The article also noted that Uretek has been cited by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection on air pollution.
Although this was many years ago, Uretek's emissions and its potential impact on the environment and people remain a very significant concern.
The DEP was notified a few years back (when the odors seemed particularly strong and noxious even blocks away). Despite Uretek’s pollution history, DEP’s response seemed disinterested. As far as we know, no air quality testing was conducted, nor any follow-up.
A health issue as serious and dangerous as this requires more than discussions or assurances from factory management. It would seem logical and imperative that thorough air quality testing be conducted (especially after hours/at night when the odors are often strongest) and that the results be made publicly available.
Does DEP receive notification of SeeClickFix concerns?