Health Concerns Topic of Koppers' Letter to Somerville Community

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Some of the allegations from Somerville residents of environmental contamination by the Koppers wood-treatment plant are briefly addressed in writing.

For years, residents say the chemicals used at the plant have been released into the air and water supply. They claim as a result, the city has a larger than average occurrence of cancer cases and birth defects.

Just before Christmas, Koppers officials took out a full page open letter to residents in the local paper laying out what they say are the facts. In the letter, Thomas D. Loadman, Vice President and General Manager of Railroad Products and Services touched on a few allegations like air quality.

According to Loadman's letter, the company complies with Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines. Loadman writes that air samples are tested regularly and they show air quality is within safety levels.

When it comes to cases of cancer, the letter says that rates of the disease in men and women in Somerville are within normal ranges as according to the Texas Cancer Registry Branch of the Texas Department of State Health Services. In referencing complaints about the local water supply being contaminated, the letter says Somerville's water source, a deep-well aquifer in Lyons, is also tested on a regular basis.

Officials from Koppers were unavailable Wednesday, for an official comment. However, a company representative tells News Three that officials will comment on the allegations after the first of the year.