Nearly 340 people filed suit Wednesday in circuit court in Madison County against three major chemical companies, claiming that they suffered poisoning from lead and other chemicals discarded as waste by the companies’ plants in Southern Illinois.
Several of the plaintiffs live in Ellis Grove, Ill., in Randolph County. Other plaintiffs include Charlene Mercurio of Alton and Vanessa Robinson of Columbia. About 130 of the plaintiffs are also suing for damage to their property caused by the chemicals.
The suit accuses the companies – Alcoa Inc., American Minerals Inc. and Atofina – of dumping water used in processing fluorspar and manganese ores into man-made ponds, then abandoning the ponds.
The waste water contained lead, zinc, fluoride, arsenic and other chemicals that can cause fertility problems and damage to a person’s internal organs, the suit says.
According to the case, those chemicals spread as the ponds became overgrown or dried up.
The suit seeks more than $850,000 for each property owner, plus the costs of cleaning up the land and getting medical treatment. An Alcoa spokesman declined to comment, saying that he was not aware of the suit.