Residents of West Ghent Fear Expose to Coal Dust from Norfolk Southern Rail Cars
The big railroads have a poor record when it comes to the safety of workers both due to accidents and exposure to dangerous substances on the railroad. At times people living near the railroads have also suffered.
I was concerned to read a story in the Virginian-Pilot about how coal dust from Lamberts Point coal terminal on the Elizabeth River which blows off uncovered Norfolk Southern rail cars bringing coal from West Virginia, may be causing pollution and putting the health of nearby residents at risk.
The story quoted residents of the West Ghent area who are concerned about the black dust. One told the newspaper about how it had coated the hands and feet of her 19-year-old daughter.
The railroad company’s terminal, known as Pier 6, is reported to be the largest coal exporting facility in the Northern Hemisphere. In 2013, 21.8 million tons of coal was shuttled by about 200,000 rail cars to the terminal to be loaded onto ships bound for Europe, Asia and South America.
James Freeman, 62, who lives near the facility says the coal dust worsens the breathing problems of his 7-year-old grandson, who lives with him.
Recently a forum on the coal dust issue at Old Dominion University sponsored by the Sierra Club and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network attracted about 100 people. Local residents and environmentalists are to ask Norfolk Southern officials to meet with them to talk about what could be done to limit the problem.
As a Norfolk railroad injury lawyer I am well aware of the potentially serious health problems that can be caused by coal dust.
Janice Nolen, vice president of national policy for the American Lung Association, told the Pilot research shows too much coal dust can lead to “premature death, heart attacks, strokes, asthma attacks, lung cancer, low birth rate and premature birth.”
For years miners who breathed in coal dust died of black lung disease. A recent study based in West Virginia, looked at the potentially harmful effects on coal dust on communities expose to it.
We have filed many lawsuits against the big railroad companies. If you have suffered the ill effects of exposure to coal dust, contact our Norfolk, VA personal injury lawyers at 757.455.0077 or see CooperHurley.com