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Toxic Chemicals Found Buried In Bethpage Community Park

Long Island Officials Discovered Six Drums of Toxic Chemicals Underneath Bethpage Community Park, Which Has Been The Dumping Ground For Northrop Grumman Aerospace

Toxic Chemicals Found Buried In Bethpage Community Park

LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK (April 6, 2024) –  Long Island officials made the shocking discovery of six toxic chemical drums buried beneath Bethpage Community Park, which has been plagued by cancer concerns.

The 55-gallon drums were found on Wednesday as officials were cleaning up the contaminated soil at Bethpage Community Park. Workers were seen in yellow hazmat suits as they worked to recover the drums.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) said that there was “no immediate threat to public health.” However, the residents of the community remain skeptical and are demanding a full soil excavation.

Residents of Bethpage have said that cancer rates in their community have been higher than in surrounding areas. Bethpage Community Park has served as a dumping area for Northrop Grumman Aerospace prior to the discovery.

Officials from the DEC later discovered the presence of a large carcinogenic plume underground that contained Trichloroethylene (TCE). This is the same chemical discovered at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

A number of people have filed class action lawsuits against Northrop Grumman Aerospace. They have claimed the company contributed to their illnesses, including cancer.

Liability For Chemical Contamination Injuries

Trichloroethylene is one of a number of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are known to cause serious injuries, including cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) considers trichloroethylene to be a known human carcinogen. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified trichloroethylene as carcinogenic to humans. The EPA has characterized trichloroethylene as carcinogenic to humans by all routes of exposure.” There are a number of other illnesses associated with volatile organic compounds.

  • VOCs are linked to respiratory issues such as pneumonia.
  • VOCs are linked to neurological ailments, including seizures and coma.
  • VOCs can damage the liver and kidneys, which can lead to dysfunction and failure.
  • VOCs are linked to a wide variety of cancers, including kidney cancer, liver cancer, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • VOCs can weaken a person’s immune system, which can make them more susceptible to infections and diseases.

Companies have a legal obligation to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition. They must also follow all federal and state regulations for storing chemicals. New York, in particular, has a number of regulations related to storing chemical tanks. Among other things, the tanks and pipes where the chemicals are stored must be tested and inspected for soundness. When a company fails to properly store hazardous materials, this could form the basis of a negligence claim.

Employers are typically liable for the wrongful acts of their employees. According to Judith M. v. Sisters of Charity Hosp., 93 N.Y.2d 932, 933 (1999), respondeat superior will apply “so long as the tortious conduct is generally foreseeable and a natural incident of the employment.” If chemicals are not stored properly, they could easily leach into the water supply of surrounding communities. In many situations, chemicals may inadvertently leak from a centralized location. There are a number of steps that should be taken after any hazardous material has been discovered in a populated area.

  • There should be a study of the effects of the hazardous material.
  • People with cancer and other illnesses should preserve their medical records.
  • Work records related to the storage and dumping of the hazardous material should be sought.
  • An experienced personal injury attorney should be contacted.

The vast majority of chemical storage accidents are entirely preventable. One of the main problems is that companies will cut corners on safety in order to save money. Disposing of chemicals in a safe manner is very costly. It is therefore not uncommon for companies to seek unsafe alternatives. Sadly, though, the effects of these poor decisions are often not fully understood for many years or even decades. Any person who is injured by volatile organic compounds may have legal recourse through a civil claim.

Getting Legal Help After Chemical Contamination Injuries

We at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. extend our best wishes to all of the individuals and families impacted by the chemical storage at Bethpage Community Park. Northrop Grumman Aerospace should do the right thing and pay to have all of the soil from the affected area completely removed. It is our sincere hope that measures are taken to prevent anything similar from happening down the road.

Have you or someone that you care about been impacted by the contaminated soil in Bethpage Community Park? Our team of toxic tort attorneys is here for you. We care deeply that victims of hazardous materials are aware of their rights and that those rights are being protected. Whether you just have legal questions or are thinking about hiring an attorney, we may be able to help. You can reach out to us anytime at (516) 908-9792.


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Jeff Korek

Jeff S. Korek

Senior Trial Partner​

Jeff S. Korek joined Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. in 1992 as the Senior Trial partner. Known for his meticulous preparation and dedication to his clients, Jeff has obtained some of the state’s highest verdicts and settlements.