Tampa-based lead battery smelter, Gopher Resources, has a history of seriously violating Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards by willfully exposing workers and their families to toxic heavy metals.
Others who live in the surrounding area of the plant may now also be in serious risk, as the Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County (EPC) has issued an Air Pollution Precaution until further notice based on tests conducted in January.
The EPC detected airborne lead concentrations near Gopher Resources Inc./EnviroFocus that exceed the national ambient air quality standard.
EPC monitoring showed the area had monthly average lead level of 0.156 µg/m3, just above the national three-month averaged standard of 0.15 µg/m3, with two specific measurements at almost twice and six-times the standard.
“This health advisory issued by local air quality officials is simply adding more insult to injury for residents of Hillsboro County, many of whom have been and continue to be exposed to these horribly toxic chemicals,” says Paul Napoli.
The EPC is now taking increased action by adding random air sampling days to the required federal sampling schedule.
In the meantime, the EPC had advised that individuals should minimize prolonged outdoor activity near the plant to reduce exposure to this toxic substance.
“Unlike other air pollutants that are gaseous and can temporarily irritate lung tissue, lead emissions can be ingested and settle within the body, having a toxic effect on both humans and animals,” stated the memo.
Former Gopher Worker Sues Lead Factory
Napoli Shkolnik filed a complaint on behalf of a Gopher employee’s child who was exposed to elevated levels of lead. This action was filed in the Circuit Court of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit of the State of Florida, in and for Hillsborough County against Gopher Resource, LLC and Envirofocus Technologies, LLC.
The defendants had filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, however the Judge denied most of their motion and has allowed the case to proceed.
On February 2, 2022, the Napoli Shkolnik legal team filed an amended complaint, and the case has now moved into the “Discovery” stage of the litigation, which we must advise, is the longest stage of the litigation.
During this stage, the parties are required to exchange all pertinent documentation regarding the facts of the complaint and conduct depositions of both plaintiffs and defendants.
Several conferences with the Defendants’ attorneys and with the Court will be held before a trial date can be discussed.
If you think you or a loved one was exposed to dangerous toxins released by the Gopher plant, we strongly encourage you to contact the firm immediately.