Cancer stories "are numbingly familiar to people who live in the vicinity of Tonawanda Coke Corp. The coke foundry recently was found by the state Department of Environmental Conservation to be emitting benzene, a carcinogen, up to 75 times higher than recommended guidelines. Those levels were up to 2ù times more than what the company reported to regulators.
Benzene has been linked to several cancers, notably leukemia, and can damage the immune system and bone marrow, impair fertility in women and irritate the skin, eyes and upper respiratory tract.
The findings brought vindication of sorts to residents who have long suspected the plant spewed high levels of cancer-causing pollutants during the chemical process that makes black, cauliflower-shaped coke for the steel industry."