Olin Chlor Alkali

The Olin Chlor Alkali Company originally operated as the Castner Electrolytic Alkali Company. Their name changed to Olin Chlor Alkali Products in 1989. After embarking on a joint venture with DuPont at their chemical plant on the Niagara River, Olin Niagara Falls bought out DuPont’s portion of the plant. This expansion of Olin’s holdings at the Niagara Falls Plant increased product supply and allowed them to create more jobs.

The Olin Chlor Alkali Niagara Falls Plant is an important employer and supporter of local businesses and charities within the Niagara Falls community. The chemical plant employee more than 170 people and spends over $33 million dollars at local businesses annually, supporting approximately 200 local jobs.

In the 1980’s, the Olin Niagara Falls Plant was named by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as one of 26 sites that were inputting toxic chemicals into the Niagara River. As a result, the plant underwent remediation to stop any leakage of toxic pollutants into the river from this site. The EPA estimates that the input of toxic chemicals has been reduced by 80% through the remediation process.

By their very nature, the materials used to produce the chemicals at the Olin Chlor Alkali Niagara Falls Plant are highly flammable. Like many other chemical plants, in order to protect employees and the local community from the impact of a chemical plant fire, asbestos-containing materials were likely used at the Niagara Falls plant in a variety of ways throughout the plant to provide insulation and prevent the spread of fire. Within the laboratories, protective clothing, coating materials, bench tops and counter tops were often manufactured with asbestos. In addition, asbestos was used to insulate equipment that operated at extremely high temperatures like: pipes, heat exchangers, pumps, driers, ovens, boilers, extruders and furnaces.

The danger of asbestos lies in the chemistry of the silicate fibers, which are friable and float freely in the air. If inhaled over a period of time, the fibers can act as a carcinogen, causing asbestosis, and more severely, mesothelioma even 20 to 50 after initial contact.  Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer and since many times it takes decades to discover, once a patient is diagnosed with mesothelioma the cancer is usually so advanced that it is quite difficult to treat.


Environmental Protection Agency