Cleaning up Hexachlorobenzene

For more than 40 years, a Soviet-era chemical factory operated in the town of Kalush, 80 miles south of Lviv in western Ukraine.  Factory discharges contaminated local lands with hexachlorobenzene (HCB), a persistent organic pollutant (POP) and potent carcinogen.

Kalush hazardous waste landfill

A contractor removed 30,000 tons of contaminated soil from Kalush between 2010 and 2013, but significant contamination remains.

Last year, ELAW Fellow Alla Voytsikhovska collected soil samples from the “hazardous waste landfill” in Kalush.

Alla, a staff scientist at Environment-People-Law (EPL), had the soil samples analyzed for HCB.

The results were shocking!  HCB levels were hundreds of times higher than were claimed by the contractor at the end of clean-up operations in 2013.

HCB has been shown to cause cancer of the liver, kidney, and thyroid.

I am advising EPL about what needs to happen to end this public health crisis.  At a minimum, the full extent of the contamination needs to be revealed and public stakeholders involved in a transparent process.

We will keep you informed of our progress in Kalush.

Find more information in this report from the Kyiv Post.

Mark Chernaik
Staff Scientist


For more information on ELAW’s work in Ukraine, please contact:

Maggie Keenan
Communications Director

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