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Deaths blamed on South L.A. housing complex

April 13, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
More than 400 people have filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles County and Exxon Mobil Inc., claiming that they were exposed to toxins which led to fatalities and various medical problems.The plaintiffs were residents of the county-owned Ujima Village housing complex in Willowbrook in South Los Angeles.

The 300-unit complex, which was closed by the county in 2008, was built on a former oil tank storage site.

The plaintiffs say exposure to toxic vapors caused at least 38 deaths and a myriad of medical problems for former residents including cancer, miscarriages, rashes, asthma and other complications.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages to compensate for back rent, injuries, medical costs and wrongful deaths.

Exxon Mobile representatives said that they discovered gas and oil contamination in 2007 but it posed no immediate threat public health threat. In a statement, the company said it has since partnered up with the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board and other agencies to investigate the situation.


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