Alexandra Allred, her husband Robb, and three children (Kerri, Katie, and Tommy) moved to Midlothian, Texas, in July of 2001.They hoped to get land to keep their horses, and have a place where their kids could play outside. Allred asked about the cement plants a few miles away from their property, but was told that it was “just steam coming out” and that there was nothing to worry about.
A few months later, Tommy, then 2, became sick with one respiratory problem after another – pneumonia, double pneumonia, bronchitis, fever, coughs, and unexplained shortness of breath. Tommy was hospitalized six times in two months and things only worsened. After research, they learned that the steam coming out of the cement plants near her home wasn’t just steam – it was filled with hundreds of thousands of pounds of mercury, lead, and other toxic chemicals. In 2008, Tommy’s elementary school was named in a USA Today Special Report to be one of the most toxic elementary schools in the nation.
In 2004, Allred joined the Downwinders At Risk organization, petitioned in Dallas, appeared in the Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star Telegram and reached out to local and state politicians. She traveled to the EPA headquarters in Raleigh, N.C. and Washington D.C.
In 2005, Allred continued to testify before the EPA, TCEQ (Texas Commission of Environmental Quality) and state representatives. She joined forces with Earthjustice and interviewed with local and national media outlets. Allred arranged to have Erin Brokovich come to her town for a Town Hall meeting and became “the client” for Brokovich’s law firm.
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