Lawsuit issued against Prime Tanning24 April 2009
Residents of the Missouri towns of Cameron and Gallatin filed a lawsuit against Prime Tanning Corp claiming that they introduced cancer-causing agents to rural farms. Prime Tanning Corp's site in St Joseph was acquired by Kansas City based National Beef last month and renamed National Beef Leathers.
Celebrity campaigner Erin Brockovich is backing the local residents who claim that farmers in the Missouri counties of Andrew, Buchanan, DeKalb and Clinton had been using effluent sludge from the Prime Tanning St Joseph site as a free fertilizer since 1983 up until the beginning of this year.
They allege that they have found high levels of hexavalant chromium in samples, which may be linked to, higher than average occurrences of brain tumours among local residents.
The lawsuit contains two charges against Prime Tanning and National Beef, one count of negligence and one count of strict liability, but does not seek a specified dollar amount.
In a statement issued by National Beef they have said the following; ‘our due diligence did not indicate any irregularities with the application of sludge as fertilizer,’ the company’s statement read. ‘We take these allegations very seriously. As such, National Beef is conducting a review of this matter and, in an abundance of caution, we have suspended land application of sludge pending the outcome of our investigation.’
This is more bad press for the tanning industry and early reports from US websites make alarming statements alleging that farmers were spreading sludge ‘containing high levels of chromium VI’ and ‘hexavalent chromium was used at the plant to remove hair from leather hides during the tanning process.’
Numerous studies have shown that chromium III that is used to tan most of the world’s leather is safe.