Residents around Black Leaf Chemical site to be tested for contamination


by Chelsea Rabideau

Posted on August 1, 2013 at 11:50 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 2 at 12:01 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – The Black Leaf Chemical site in West Louisville was home to numerous pesticide manufacturing companies up until the 1970s. The EPA discovered the soil was contaminated three years ago. Since then, the agency has ordered the site to be cleaned up. But, residents in the Park Hill neighborhood could still be in danger of becoming ill because of the contamination. Now, doctors and Metro Councilman David James are trying to get them tested for contamination. 

Concerns swirled around the basement of the California Community Center. Dozens of Park Residents learning more about proposed medical testing for exposure to dangerous toxins around the Black Leaf Chemical site.

Resident Ricky Hite said, “I’m within eyeshot of the factory. I grew up in the area, then I moved back. So, I’m really concerned about my children mainly.”

EPA testing found a long list of chemicals on properties in the area. Marvin Hayes had his yard and his well tested. “Well, I don’t want to be hurt. You know, get poisoned, get accidentally poisoned or nothing like that.”

Metro Councilman David James is using Neighborhood Development funds to help pay to test for lead and arsenic contamination, along with money from Russ Barnett at the University of Louisville. But, there’s only money for 100 residents to be tested and only adult residents, which is upsetting news for some parents.

“I’m pretty concerned about my health too, but I’m an adult, I’ve been exposed to chemicals forever, so right now, I’m just worried about the development and how my kids is growing up,” Hite explained.

If contamination is found, residents say they want former owners of the property held accountable. Dr. Matthew Cave will head up the testing. He says the Black Leaf site is a complicated problem. People are concerned about their property values and their health. He can’t help with everything, but he plans on doing what he can.

“I’m not really qualified to comment on all facets, but, what I do want to work on as a physician is to study the health of the residents and determine if they’ve been affected by these chemicals.”

At least 69 homes have been designated as eligible for cleanup as a result of EPA soil contamination testing.

There will be more meetings to discuss possible legal action if contamination is found in residents.