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ABC Special Report
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Trump - NAHB Homebuilders Shoddy Construction and Forced Arbitration
Erin Brockovich takes on Lennar Homes
Saturday, 29 September 2007

Erin Brockovich to conduct inquiry in N. Charleston
Environmental advocate Erin Brockovich is investigating a North Charleston neighborhood that she said she believes is contaminated with a cancer-causing chemical...
She said the Wescott case reminds her of other neighborhoods in the country she has studied, in which toxic chemicals seeped from waste sites to residential areas. An EPA official said the agency is investigating whether the areas in question have been used as dumping sites...Brockovich said she'll take on the Wescott case despite threats from Lennar. She said the company told her this week that it would conduct "a smear campaign" against her if she continued her investigation.

Erin Brockovich to conduct inquiry in N. Charleston

The Post and Courier
Saturday, September 29, 2007

Environmental advocate Erin Brockovich is investigating a North Charleston neighborhood that she said she believes is contaminated with a cancer-causing chemical.

The California consultant, whose story was made famous by Julia Roberts in an Oscar-winning performance, was in Charleston on Friday to say she'll work with families who live in a section of Wescott Plantation after tests from the area found unusually high amounts of benzene in the air.

The hope is that the investigation will yield some definitive answers for affected residents, Brockovich said.

"They don't seem to know what's going on, and they're sick and they're scared," she said.

In July her firm conducted air quality tests in seven homes built by Lennar Corp. in a section of Wescott, which is off Dorchester Road. She said the results showed that benzene levels were, in many cases, three times higher than what the Environmental Protection Agency says is safe.

The chemical, which is not naturally present in the environment, could have come from two dumps that are nearby, Brockovich said.

She said the Wescott case reminds her of other neighborhoods in the country she has studied, in which toxic chemicals seeped from waste sites to residential areas.

An EPA official said the agency is investigating whether the areas in question have been used as dumping sites.

Lennar officials disputed Brockovich's findings Friday. The environmental testing firm that the builder hired to study the soil also found traces of benzene. Those tests were reviewed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which said in a July letter that "the levels of total organic compounds ... did not present a public health threat."

Benzene is a widely used chemical and carcinogen linked to leukemia.

Breathing very high levels of the chemical can result in death.

Originally, some Wescott residents raised concerns about the smell of methane gas in their Lennar-built homes.

The EPA tested for methane this summer and concluded that the level was safe and breathable, but made no mention of benzene.

Brockovich said she'll take on the Wescott case despite threats from Lennar.

She said the company told her this week that it would conduct "a smear campaign" against her if she continued her investigation.

Lennar officials denied that. The builder also said Brockovich's firm tried to solicit at least $120,000 of consulting work in exchange for clearing Lennar's reputation, which she denied Friday.

Reach Katy Stech at 937-5549 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

http://www.charleston.net/news/2007/sep/29/erin_brockovich_conduct_inquiry_n_charle17625/

 
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