Nitro, West Virginia is a small boom town, nestled in the heart of Appalachia's 'Chemical Valley'. For over 50 years, residents of Nitro were deeply tied to a Monsanto chemical plant, which at its peak employed over 60% of the town's residents and financially supported civic life. Despite providing economic prosperity to the lives of its employees, the plant is responsible for illegally dumping Dioxin, a deadly component of the defoliant Agent Orange, into the community's soil.
Elevated cancer rates, high levels of Dioxin in local water ways and homes and rare auto-immune disorders have disrupted the lives of long-term residents, and have rendered the fertile valley and river surrounding this region unusable.
After 8 years of appeals, citizens of Nitro who banded together in a class-action lawsuit against the mega-corporation, were finally able to arrive at a settlement. As a result, Monsanto was required to devote around $93,000,000 towards chemical clean-up efforts and medical monitoring. This sum, when divided between hundreds of citizens, is only enough to offer modest clean-up efforts and create the illusion of medical care. A modest gesture, many residents will continue to live in the massive debt of their medical bills, as they simultaneously overcome the staggering loss of untimely and avoidable deaths of loved ones.