Selma auto supplier workers blame plant for sickness - - The News for South Mississippi

Selma auto supplier workers blame plant for sickness

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(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)

A group of workers in Dallas County say their job is making them sick. Employees at Renosol Seating, just outside Selma, told NBC News that exposure to a harmful chemical has caused a string of sinus infections, chronic coughs, bronchitis, shortness of breath, and asthma. 

Monday, WSFA 12 News reporter Bethany Davis talked to some of those workers who explained the problem.

Renosol makes foam cushions for seats and headrests in Hyundai automobiles. Eight current employees and 3 previous employees came forward to NBC News, hoping to get help with their chronic health problems. 

They have a theory about what's making them so sick , saying it's exposure to Toluene Diisocyanate, or TDI, a chemical used to make the seat foam. Similar chemicals are found in paints, nail polish and insulation.

Back in 2008, 10 employees filed a lawsuit against Renosol and its parent company, Lear, alleging that workers were, "repeated and continually exposed to hazardous chemicals." However, A judge dismissed that lawsuit in 2012 without citing a reason.

Then, just this spring, a leak in a pipe that carries TDI forced an evacuation of the plant and prompted employees to file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA. The OSAH investigation is still ongoing. 

Now, workers are trying to form a union with help from United Auto Workers. UAW says health issues top the list of grievances at the Renosol plant. 

Renosol employees explain their longstanding health concerns at this plant, and how they hope forming a union will help.

The Lear Corporation, which owns the Renosol plant, issued this statement to NBC News: 

"The company has taken these employee concerns very seriously." Lear said the company "completed exhaustive testing and evaluation, and based on internal investigation, two separate independent environmental evaluations, as well as a thorough OSHA evaluation, Lear concluded that the environment in the Selma plant is safe for our employees. It goes on to say, "we are in the midst of an emotional union organizing campaign. During such campaigns, there are often unsubstantiated allegations made."

ON THE WEB: NBC News report

Coming up on WSFA 12 News at 6, reporter Bethany Davis has additional details from the workers.

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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