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Sloss Industries Receives Largest Penalty in Alabama History
(Beyond Pesticides, June 24, 2003) Only days after Beyond Pesticides reported that 58 cows had died on a rural Alabama farm due to pesticide poisoning, Alabama is once again the scene of pesticide news as Sloss Industries, a company that leaked cyanide into a tributary of the Black Warrior River, was fined $675,000, the largest environmental penalty ever decreed in state history.

In the settlement, the company also promised to donate land for a park in Alabama focusing on wastewater management.

According to ENN.com, the company’s Birmingham plant, employing over 500 workers, was discharging cyanide levels 22 times over the legal limit into the waterway, despite the company’s supposed dedication to “environmental compliance and the minimization of potential pollutants released to the environment.” EPA requires that releases of more than one pound of cyanide into the environment must be reported.

Cyanide is an extremely toxic chemical. Exposure in high levels causes brain and heart damage, and potentially leading to death. Even exposure in low levels may result in vomiting, breathing difficulty, and headaches.

Sloss Industries has a history of environment health and safety violations, including over 60 violations for excessive levels of cyanide and zinc released into the environment. In 2000, OSHA fined the same Sloss plant $154,000 for health and safety violations found during an inspection.