Cancer town: life in the shadow of a chemical plant – podcast | Society



The small town of Reserve sits on the banks of the Mississippi in Louisiana. It is also the place in the US with the greatest risk of cancer because of air toxicity. Three years ago the Environmental Protection Agency found that emissions from the chemicals plant owned by the Japanese firm Denka were the primary cause of the population’s cancer risk being 50 times greater than the national average.

Senior reporter Oliver Laughland is one of the Guardian’s journalists covering the town in a year-long investigative series. He tells India Rakusen how angry residents are about the inaction of state and federal authorities, but how they feel vindicated after government scientists confirmed their suspicions after many years of living in the shadow of the factory.

Also today: Helen Pidd on the battle to save the 180-year-old dam at Whaley Bridge, in Derbyshire, where up to 1,500 residents were forced to evacuate after flooding in the area.

The chemical plant in Reserve, Louisiana

Photograph: Bryan Tarnowski/The Guardian

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