Coal Ash Cause Birth Defects in Dominican Republic?


A civil lawsuit has been filed in Delaware charging toxic levels of coal ash dumped at a rural port in the Dominican Republic made area residents sick. A Virginia-based power company has been accused of causing birth defects and other health problems in the Dominican Republic after thousands of tons of coal ash were dumped on a local beach. AES Corporation, operator of coal-burning power plants in the U.S. and other countries, discarded 160 million pounds of coal ash in the Dominican Republic after officials in neighboring Puerto Rico complained about the buildup of the toxic refuse from AES’ plant in Guayama. So the American company hired a contractor to ship the coal ash—a leftover from burning coal that’s filled with heavy metals—to Samaná, on the Dominican Republic’s Atlantic coast, where it sat for two years. Locals in Arroyo Barril began to complain after the coal ash arrived of children being born with horrible disorders, such as missing limbs or having organs on the outside of their bodies. A class action lawsuit was filed in a Delaware court last Wednesday alleging AES is responsible for the health problems in Samaná and should be held liable for correcting the situation.

Law firms Levy Phillips & Konigsberg of New York and Bifferato of Wilmington, Del., filed the suit Wednesday seeking unspecified compensation for seven clients and medical monitoring for the entire neighborhood. “We tested 42 people, and more than half of those tested had abnormal, unsafe levels of arsenic in their blood,” Levy’s Robert Vance said.

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