New Orleans had a Pirates’ Alley and a Dutch Alley, but the city is better known for its streets and avenues now. The nearby Mississippi River Valley has been called several names ending in “Alley,” and none of them are positive. Cancer Alley, Death Alley and Chemical Alley are all common monikers for an area with a high incidence of lung cancer and other respiratory problems.
Many observers believe that this problem was caused by decades of refineries, petrochemical plants and other industries operating near the river and releasing emissions into the water and air. Some plants operate right next to neighborhoods and schools.
Some residents affected by lung illnesses around Cancer Alley and their supporters spent much of the year protesting new installations and stalled cleanup efforts. These activities included a march from Baton Rouge to New Orleans in opposition to several new planned chemical factories. One company withdrew its plans and a fertilizer maker has shut down many of its local operations.
A demonstration in front of an education building helped a local school board move young students out of classes held less than half a mile from a chemical plant in Cancer Alley. Children spend much their day in school, increasing their potential exposure to carcinogenic vapors and substances nearby.
If someone in Louisiana has a diagnosis of lung cancer, a nearby factory or company may be liable for medical expenses and other costs during recovery. An attorney can help examine the medical evidence and figure out the liability of nearby polluters that have endangered the health of Louisianans.