Rubbertown is the home of a group of over eleven chemical facilities, commercial and industrial operations, and a municipal waste water facility, all in one concentrated residential area. The area also includes a Superfund Site and numerous brownfield sites where past disposal has occurred. The petrochemical industrialization of the area has been polluting the environment since 1918 when Standard Oil of Kentucky started its oil refinery. Afterwards, other industries started operations and manufacturing a variety of chemical and industrial products in the same location.
Rubbertown has faced challenges related to the control of ozone, potential exposure to hazardous air pollutants (HAPS), and reoccurring odor issues. Research has shown that the residents of the areas closest to the chemical industry complex have a shorter life expactancy. Residents of Rubbertown and the surrounding area can expect to live five to eight years less than the residents located furthest away.
All people are affected by air, water and soil pollution. These are the places the pollution from toxic chemical companies reside. Even though Rubbertown is located in West Louisville, all of us have to breathe the air and use the water and land. When pollution becomes more than the body can take, ill health ensues. Residents in West Louisville became concerened they were being exposed to unsafe concentrations of toxic air pollutants from the local industries. There are over 13,000 households within a mile radius of Rubbertown. Of these households, 37% are white and 62% are black. There is an environmental injustice occurring by continuing to allow these chemical industries to pollute the environment we live in. Two of the top ten emitters of air toxins and three of the top ten hazardous waste generators reside in Rubbertown.
Being aware is the first key. The Community Advocates in the area are great sources of information and are the best places to find out about what is really going on in our own backyard. Urging Metro Council and the Office of the Mayor to be more strict and stringent with the pollution restrictions and enforcing fines is also a good way to help. A change in lifestyle can lead to less consumption which can lessen the toxic environment. Drive less. Bike and walk more. Use public transit. Support local economies.Every little bit counts. So remember to do your share.
Rubbertown Chemical Industry Complex West Louisville, Kentucky