Lawsuit claims to link infant mortality to creek pollution

A class action lawsuit claims to prove that there is a link between the infant mortality rate in one Memphis neighborhood and the chemicals that polluted a nearby creak.

Davis Hall of the Life Together Institute for Peace said Tuesday that legal action could determine if toxic chemicals dumped into the Cypress Creek by companies like Velsicol harmed fetuses or babies.  Hall claims people living near Cypress Creek may have been victimized by the company, which used the creek as a dumping ground for toxic chemicals for years.  Chemicals seeped in the yards of many Douglas neighborhood homes.
Hall, along with attorney Javier Bailey, believe there's a connection between the contaminated creek, and the high infant mortality rate in the 38108 and 38107 zip codes.

"Babies may have to be exhumed to attest to whether or not the baby came here with something as a result of contamination," Hall said.  "that has to be done."

Hall said a court battle will take a long time and those claiming to victims will have to undergo tests to determine if chemicals once dumped into the cypress led to any serious chronic health problems, or death. According to Hall, a 1-800 hotline number will be set up in the near future so that residents who believe they have been harmed can lodge a complaint.  The lawsuit is expected to be filed in civil court in the next seven to ten days.

On average, 14 out of every 1,000 children born in Shelby County die before the age of one, making the infant mortality rate in the county one of the highest in the country.