Epa: Cancer-Causing Chemicals Found In Soil At North Louisiana Apartment Complex

BENTON, Lal. (AP) — After cancer-causing chemicals were found in the soil at a north Louisiana apartment complex, the Environmental Protection Agenc y has blocked access to part of the property and will move to abate the situation.

The EPA will perform an emergency soil removal action at the Palmetto Place Apartments in Benton after detecting elevated levels of dioxin contamination in the soil in a empty field between two of the structures on the property, the Shreveport-Bossier City Advocate reported.

Dioxin exposure has been known to cause cancer, reproductive and developmental problems, damage to the immune system and hormone interference, according to the EPA.

The now fenced off area was frequently used by children to play, according to emails between EPA and Benton city officials obtained by the newspaper.

The EPA found the contamination after testing soil, water and sediment samples from the area around the old Benton Creosote facility. The plant opened in 1948 and operated in the community until 2008. Creosote is a chemical used to preserve wood.

The latest round of testing occurred after the EPA found elevated levels of dioxins in a drainage ditch not far from the complex in June.

Mayor Shelly Horton told the newspaper the EPA will oversee the entire cleanup operation. The agency plans to take more samples from the area before excavating the contaminated soil and replacing it with clean dirt.

EPA officials said the agency hopes to begin the clean-up process by the second week of February.