Is A Factory Making People In One Kentucky Community Sick?

By: Dave Spencer Email
By: Dave Spencer Email

Some Clark County people living next to a Wood Veneer Factory say the dust and smell generated is causing health problems. The owner says that's not true.

George Freeman, owner of Freeman Corporation, wants to put the rumors of the bad air his company is accused of spreading to rest.

He says the company which manufactures wood panels and flooring is simply upsetting it's neighbors but denies the claims that he's responsible for making people sick.

Today 27 NEWSFIRST was given a tour of the factory by the owner, showing us how the product goes from logs to panels.

We also spoke with neighbors who say they don't need a tour to learn about the by-products coming from the company. The only thing separating a handful of homes from the plant is a row of trees.

John Tate and his neighbors say those trees do little to stop the wood dust and smoke from the factory from getting to homes and lungs.

Tate says, "The wood particles are going everywhere."

Freeman says he powers his plant by burning sawdust and wood, saying he monitors the output closely.

He says if a problem like smoke is noticed... "We shut it down, we don't try and fix it, we shut it down."

Tate says he notices the problems too, "That's saying to me that it's highly toxic."

Freeman says there's nothing toxic about the air or dust, saying they burn pure wood, no chemicals are involved.

There's also the issue of odor. Tate describes it as if someone opened a jar of pickles and it's making them sick to their stomachs.

Again Freeman says it's blown out of proportion. Freeman has a theory on why this issue is brought to light now.

He says, "People don't like living next to a factory."

Freeman says he wants to be a good neighbor but also has a company to run.

He says the public concern was brought up a hearing this week, The Freeman Corporation is in the process of renewing an air quality permit.


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