1995: EPA Places RSR Corporation Site on Superfund List

After RSR Corporation was shut down in 1984, they were ordered to clean up the soil that was contaminated by the lead in West Dallas. In 1985, there was a $45 million dollar settlement that went towards 370 children from West Dallas that were harmed by RSR’s emissions. In 1991, the federal government sued RSR for the suffering they caused the residents of West Dallas, leading to a pronouncement from President Clinton calling for a clean-up (Stone, 2015).

In 1995, the EPA put RSR on the Superfund List and lead a clean-up mission that involved assessing over 7000 properties and cleaning 400 of them. During the EPA’s investigation, they discovered that most of the lead dust being emitted by RSR was being deposited at the DHA public housing complex. The lead was slowly poisoning residents across West Dallas, along with the children that lived there (RSR Corporation: Superfund Site Profile, n.d.). They would play in the soil that had levels of lead in it and then touch their face or eat and get poisoned by the chemical (Wigglesworth, 2012).

The EPA conducted a review every five years to make sure that the steps they took towards the clean-up were remaining beneficial (Wayback Machine, 2009). In more recent years, there have been claims that the scientifically accepted “standard” for acceptable lead levels was wrong and much smaller amounts can cause harm. The Dallas Morning News did a story about this change in scientific thought, stating that “federal standards for lead in residential soil, as well as in dust and water, are not sufficient to protect health.” As new studies come out, the environmental crisis in West Dallas will be seen through a new lens (Wigglesworth, 2012).

To learn more about RSR’s history in West Dallas, watch the short video below:


RSR CORPORATION: Superfund Site Profile. (n.d.). EPA. Retrieved October 4, 2021, from https://cumulis.epa.gov/supercpad/SiteProfiles/index.cfm?fuseaction=second.Cleanup&id=0602297#bkground

Wayback Machine. (2009, May 14). https://web.archive.org/web/20090514201643/http://www.epa.gov//region6//6sf/pdffiles/0602297.pdf

Wigglesworth, V. (2012, December 15). The Burden of Lead: West Dallas deals with contamination decades later. Dallas News. https://www.dallasnews.com/news/2012/12/15/the-burden-of-lead-west-dallas-deals-with-contamination-decades-later/