• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Carson residents sue Shell over benzene

October 15, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Hundreds of Carson residents filed a lawsuit against Shell Oil. They claim their neighborhood was contaminated by a cancer-causing agent.Evelyn Salinas bought her dream home nine years ago now she fears her health is at risk.

"It's hard to talk about," said Salinas. "Everything I have is in this home."

Salinas lives in the Carousel neighborhood, where Shell Oil had three tanks up until the 1960s.

An investigation is under way after the L.A. Regional Water Quality Control Board detected the carcinogen benzene 100,000 times above the screening level and methane in the air.

Salinas believes what's buried below is now coming to the surface.

"We noticed cracks starting to appear and then we started noticing patches of discoloration of the concrete and it looks like it's an oily substance coming up," said Salinas.

Salinas and her neighbors are suing Shell. At Barbara Post's home there is something oily seeping through the grout on her patio in 16 places and she says she and her husband have been sick.

"We have gone to the doctors over and over," said Post. "They have given us everything under the sun and they say, 'We don't know where it's coming from.' So we have just learned to live with it. We've got a cough and we don't know why."

The board has determined methane levels do not pose an immediate threat. The bigger concern is benzene, but the board says that some residents have not allowed soil samples to be taken at the advice of their attorneys and that's delaying the process of finding out just how much is in the ground.

"I will stay here until this is all settled," said Post. "Which I hope it gets settled soon."

Residents say they know their health is most important and they realize they may need to move. The test results could also render their property worthless, losing not only value but their sense of community.

Report Typo |  Send Tip |  Get Alerts | Most Popular
Follow @abc7 on Twitter  |  Become a fan on Facebook


Load Comments