A newly published report from the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission (ECP) details critical environmental violations at Gopher Resource, LLC’s Tampa Plant, making the workplace unsafe for employees and potentially releasing lead toxins into the atmosphere. The report details eight violations associated with fugitive capture and ventilation systems, three associated with process and hygiene systems, and three associated with SO2 emissions from the Wastewater Treatment Plant.
The new report follows a series of investigations conducted by regulators and outside consultants, all of which how egregious failures to manage lead toxins inside the plant, or to protect the surrounding areas from their release. According to the ECP, visible emissions were observable, confirming that various chemicals reached life-threatening levels in the furnace department. And in the same department, lead-laced dust was blanketing the floor. Despite being cited for repeated violations in the past and receiving numerous recommendations for improvement, Gopher Resource and its parent company, Energy Capital Partners, failed to make critical improvements to keep workers and surrounding residents safe.
Lead poisoning can lead to a wide variety of physical and mental problems, including severe abdominal pain, sleep problems, headaches, and aggressive behavior; and it can severely affect mental and physical development in children. In the United States, recent studies estimate that over 400,000 deaths are caused by lead exposure in the United States.
To learn more about Gopher Resource’s failure to protect its workers, click here.