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The trial of a Gulf Coast chemical plant, the DuPont Titanium Dioxide Plant in Mississippi, is finally beginning almost seven years after eight-year-old Hayley Ladner died of liver cancer (hepatoblastoma). Hayley’s parents, Kerman and Naomi Ladner, filed suit against the plant claiming that living in close proximity to the chemical plant directly led to the death of their young daughter. The suit alleges, specifically, that plant byproducts contaminated the area in which they lived.

The Ladner’s attorney, Al Stewart, alleges that dioxin contamination from the DuPont plant can affect the surrounding air, food supply, and land. Following a series of environmental tests, it was found that large amounts of dioxins and arsenic were found in sediment test of the Ladner’s home, the Bay of St. Louis and oysters from the bay. Ladner’s attorney said the levels of dioxin and arsenic found were certainly severe enough to cause the young girl’s cancer.

An attorney for DuPont, Deborah Kuchler, agreed that Hayley’s death was tragic yet denies any responsibility for that death. Ms. Kuchler said, “Sometimes really bad things happen and it’s nobody’s fault. There is no evidence DuPont made this child sick. It doesn’t have to be somebody’s fault.” But when it is, Ms. Kuchler, someone should have to pay.

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