Erin Brockovich involved in Oz case

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Sydney, Mar 3 (UNI) In a case akin to her famous Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) one, US Consumer Advocate Erin Brockovich is set to represent clients who claim mining giant Alcoa's Wagerup alumina refinery, 140 km south of Perth, has caused them serious illness.

About 160 residents from nearby Yarloop complained of respiratory problems, skin irritation, stomach upset, nose bleeds, cancers and organ failure in the past 11 years. They blame emissions from the 24-year-old refinery for the same.

Alcoa says any legal action by the environmental campaigner over safety at its West Australian alumina refinery would be baseless.

Managing Director of Alcoa, Australia, Alan Cransberg said he was confident the company's operations were safe.

The Daily Telegraph quoted him as saying that numerous studies showed the refinery met the most stringent health and environmental standards.

Ms Brockovich shot to fame with a Hollywood movie that shared her name and story.

The Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) case was settled in 1996 for 333 million dollars, the largest settlement ever paid in a direct action lawsuit in US history.

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