Grant to study impact of Chlorine exposure on Carolina mill workers

The University of South Carolina has won a $3 million federal grant to study the impact of the catastrophic chemical spill in Graniteville five years ago, the Columbia State Herald reported.

Carolina work injuries frequently involve hazardous chemicals. In this case, as in the case of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the first-responders will be among those at risk for the health complications that come with exposure to chlorine. Specifically, the USC study will look at whether chlorine exposure is causing people’s lungs to age prematurely.

Previous research by a university epidemiologist found that those exposed to the chemical leak, which was caused by a train wreck, had lungs that were aging at a rate 400 percent faster than before exposure during the 2005 accident. The new study will be the first long-term chlorine health study of its kind.

People in Graniteville, a mill town in Aiken County, are still complaining of side effects. Nine people were killed by chlorine exposure after the Jan. 6, 2005 accident. The accident occurred when a speeding Norfolk Southern train ran off the main track and slammed into a parked train, causing a tanker to rupture and spill tons of chlorine. The common household cleaning agent is deadly in high concentrations.

Hundreds of others sought medical attention. The new study will examine the effects on 600 former mill employees as well as others in the community.

If you are dealing with a work accident or need to speak to an attorney about a workers’ compensation claim in North Carolina or South Carolina, contact the Law Offices of Lee & Smith today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 800-887-1965. Serving all of North and South Carolina, including Greensboro, Hendersonville, Hickory, Lenoir, Lincolnton and Morganton.

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