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Orange County Digest

Local News in Brief : Anaheim : Mother Sues Chemical Plant in Fume Release

February 18, 1988

The mother of a 3-year-old boy living near the Stepan Co.'s chemical plant has filed suit against the company, claiming that the potentially toxic fumes released into the air by the firm two weeks ago led to the hospitalization of her son.

In the suit, Suzette Gregory charged that she and her son, Jon, were severely injured by the cloud of sulfur trioxide released on Feb. 4 by the detergent manufacturer.

Six-thousand cubic feet of the gaseous chemical were released into the air following the malfunction of an electrical pump, spewing fumes over the adjoining neighborhood, officials said at the time. About 100 people suffered breathing problems, nausea and throat irritation after the release of fumes, health officials said.

The suit, filed Tuesday afternoon, seeks unspecified damages from the Illinois-based firm.

Meanwhile, Stepan Co. was seeking to overturn the South Coast Air Quality Management District's decision to revoke the firm's license to make sulfur dioxide and sulfur trioxide. Both chemicals are used in detergent manufacture.

A district hearing board is scheduled to continue its review of the firm's request today at the agency's El Monte headquarters.

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