Occidental Chemical Corporation Asbestos Exposure

Occidental Chemical Corporation Asbestos Exposure - Hooker Chemical - Mesothelioma Lawyers

Occidental Petroleum Corporation is a publicly traded U.S. based oil, gas and chemical corporation founded in California in 1920. As the name implies, Occidental Petroleum started out in the fuel and energy business.  In 1968, the company expanded into the chemicals field when they acquired Hooker Chemical Company.   In 1987 Occidental Petroleum moved its chemical activities into Occidental Chemical Corporation, also known as OxyChem, with headquarters in Dallas, Texas. OxyChem manufactures polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resins, chlorine and sodium hydroxide (caustic soda), sodium silicates, chlorinated organics, caustic potash, chlorinate cyanuric acid (isocyanurate) and calcium chloride. These products are used in a variety of industries including pharmaceuticals, plastics and water treatment.

Hooker Chemical company, formerly known as Hooker Electrochemical Company, was founded in 1903 in Rochester, New York. The innovative company used diaphragm cell technology to create chlorine and caustic soda (lye) by electrifying salt water. Hooker later expanded into the manufacture of chemical products including resins, sodium sulfide, aluminum chloride, phenol, sodium sulfhydrate, trichloroethylene and sodium tetrasulfide. The Hooker plant was located in Niagara Falls, New York at 4700 Buffalo Avenue and closed on November 18, 2021.

Occidental Chemical Corporation Asbestos Exposure

In 1955, Hooker Chemical acquired Durez Corporation. Durez was founded by Harry M. Dent in 1921 in North Tonawanda, New York. Durez was known for manufacturing plastic phenolic resins and plastic molding compounds. OxyChem operated the Durez facility until it began

slowly shutting down operations in the mid to late 1980s and ceased operations in 1995/1996. Durez was acquired by Sumitomo Bakelite North America in 2001.

Visitors to Hooker’s Niagara Falls facilities were exposed not only to asbestos but also to benzene and dioxin. Benzene is a chemical used in the production of plastic, and dioxin is a hazardous end product developed from manufacturing plastic.  Both benzene and dioxin are known carcinogens. Hooker Chemical used benzene in its plastic division, and government reports as recent as 2008 demonstrate that the ground under and around the Hooker plant contains potentially dangerous levels of dioxin.

From 1942-1953 Hooker Chemical used nearby Love Canal as a chemical waste dump.  Love Canal was an abandoned seven-mile canal dug by William T. Love to connect the upper and lower Niagara River. In 1953, after filling the canal and covering it with dirt, Hooker sold the land to the Niagara Falls Board of Education for one dollar. The Board of Education built a school on the property and in 1978 there were approximately 800 homes built around the canal in the Love Canal neighborhood. In August 1978, a federal health emergency was declared in the Love Canal community and residents were evacuated.  In 1988, after the Federal Environmental Protection Agency in NYS conducted thousands of soil, air and water tests, the State determined that the areas directly east of Love Canal were not safe to live.  After eight years of deliberations, a federal judge ruled in 1988 that Occidental was responsible for the improper disposal by Hooker Chemical of more than 21,000 tons of chemicals on the site during the 1940s and 1950s.  The Occidental Chemical Corporation, Hooker Chemical’s successor entity, was ordered to pay state and federal government agencies to assist in the canal’s clean up and recovery efforts.

The attorneys at Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, LLC lead the way in representing Occidental workers in their legal claims for mesothelioma and asbestos related exposures. Through our tireless efforts, we have helped to shape and reform asbestos laws throughout the state of New York. We have a full team of lawyers devoted to representing people exposed to asbestos. We have gathered a vast amount of information concerning the type and variety of asbestos-containing products used at Occidental. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, please contact us regarding your legal rights. We will schedule an appointment to come to your home and meet with you and your family to discuss your legal rights.