CABOT-KOPPERS SUPERFUND SITE SUMMARY

14 Mar

The Cabot-Koppers Superfund Site is located near the intersection of Northwest 23rd Avenue and North Main Street in the heart of Gainesville, Florida, and covers approximately 170 acres.

A wood treatment plant operated on the Koppers portion of the site from 1912 until 2010.  In the first part of the 20th century, creosote was used to treat utility poles and timber.  In the final decades of operation, creosote was replaced by chromated copper arsenate (CCA).

Nearly a century of wood treatment activity and illegal dumping are responsible for contaminated ground water and soil.  Burning of contaminated waste has resulted in additional contamination.

The Cabot-Koppers acreage was declared a Superfund Site by the US EPA in 1983 and added to the National Priorities List for clean-up in 1984.  In 1984 there were just a few dozen sites on the list:  Cabot-Koppers became the 37th.  Hundreds of sites across the nation have been cleaned up since then, but not Gainesville’s.

In 2003 test results indicated that the Floridan Aquifer, the source of drinking water for 90% of the State of Florida, is being contaminated with toxins from Cabot-Koppers.

The Alachua County Commission sent two letters to President Obama in 2011 asking for his help to expedite the permanent relocation of affected residents and the protection of the municipal water supply.

The multinational, multibillion corporation, Beazer East is responsible for the Koppers clean-up.  Beazer East and Koppers are the same entity.

The primary contaminants are dioxins, creosote compounds, benzene, naphthalene, and chromated copper arsenate.

Test results from 2010 and 2011 confirmed extremely high and alarming levels of dioxins in homes within a two mile radius from the Cabot-Koppers Superfund Site at an average of 400 to over 1,000 times above US EPA’s own “safe” level standard.

Chloracne, rashes, respiratory problems such as asthma, allergies, shortness of breath, regular headache, frequent bloody noses, diabetes, autism, miscarriages, still births and birth defects including cleft palate, extra limbs, and missing organs are common complaints in Gainesville’s superfund neighborhoods.  Cancers of the colon, lungs, kidneys, thyroid, skin, pancreas, liver, prostate, brain, and stomach, to name just a few, are common in these neighborhoods.

Gainesville residents have been protesting, testifying of their families’ illnesses and deaths, and demanding environmental justice and permanent relocation for over fifty years.  Residents have retained a team of class action attorneys headed by The Calwell Practice.

For additional information visit koppersgainesville.com

Cabot-Koppers Superfund Site – TV20 News / Residents Duped By Non-Disclosure

23 May

Alachua County to Support Koppers Victims for Justice in Lawsuit Against Beazer

22 Feb

Residents want to thank Commissioner Rodney Long for calling on Alachua County and City of Gainesville governing bodies to support the victims of Cabot-Koppers Superfund Site contamination to restore their financial resources and their health. Long has characterized the Koppers scandal as: “…one of the worst acts of environmental injustice in America.”

NEW AND ENLIGHTENING WEBSITE IS A MUST-SEE FOR GAINESVILLE RESIDENTS

6 Jul

Koppers Plain Talk explores the science of Gainesville’s Superfund Site, shedding light on the health effects of its toxins.

EPA’s 2009 chart documenting the health effects of Koppers contaminants of concern is particularly informative- and alarming. To view this document, go to koppersplaintalk.com, choose The Science tab and scroll to the bottom. Check out the rest of this educational site.

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Environmental Injustice: The Unfolding Tale of Two Florida Superfund Sites

13 Apr

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Will Residents Lose Their Rights With Neighborhood Topsoil Removal Plan?

16 Feb

On February 6, 2014 Maria Parsons told the City Commission about Stephen Foster Neighborhood residents’ concerns that by agreeing to participate in Beazer East, Inc/EPA’s topsoil replacement plan- at any time before, during, and/or after the soil replacement process- they are signing away their rights to take any possible future legal action that may be needed involving the polluter or any other responsible party for ongoing contamination and toxic exposure from Koppers chemicals.

Mrs. Parsons asked the Commission to confirm or deny these concerns in writing, and to provide a copy of all agreement forms, contracts, releases and/or waivers that residents must sign in order to participate in the soil replacement plan.  The Commission directed Mr. Murry to obtain and forward the requested information and documents to her.  Mrs. Parsons has not heard from Mr. Murry yet. Farinda O’Steen asked the city for this information several months ago and is still waiting for their response, as are other concerned residents.

Residents also need to know whether deed restrictions will be placed on their properties and exactly what that entails.

Homeowners in and near the contantly-changing topsoil replacement zone would be wise to have any documents they receive pertaining to Beazer East Inc/EPA’s plan reviewed by an attorney before signing them.

New Public Health Failure at Love Canal Decades after EPA Remediation

13 Jan

After 35 years, a new generation of Love Canal residents claims illnesses from buried chemicals

Current residents of the redeveloped Love Canal neighborhood say that capping, an impermeable layer and clean topsoil failed to protect their families from toxic exposure and resulting catastrophic illnesses, prompting a new lawsuit against Occidental Chemical, its remediation contractors, the City of Niagara Falls, and the Niagara Falls Water Board:

http://www.lovecanaltoxicexposure.com/files/WPost-AP_11-3-13.pdf

Gainesville Commissioner Chase says of Stephen Foster Neighborhood, “In a million years, I wouldn’t live there with my kids.”

7 Oct

Resident Sharon Sheets wants relocation: “Half my life in contamination

Resident Farinda O’Steen: “I’m up to 20 in my family that have died over that (Koppers) plant and I want out of the neighborhood

Resident Alice Alonso wants to know why Beazer East/Koppers executives like Mitchell Brourman haven’t been jailed.  Mayor Braddy agrees that Mrs. Alonso would be arrested for terrorism if she purchased their deadly chemical cocktail that’s killing her family and neighbors.

Industry Expert Bob Burton tells Commission, “We have a very serious problem here that one foot of soil is not going to cure

Gainesville Commissioner Hinson-Rawls wants residents made whole: “Just purchase the homes

We’re not coming back.” Beazer East executive Mitchell Brourman says they’re done in Stephen Foster Neighborhood after twelve inch soil removal even if it fails.

Gainesville Commissioner Chase says of Stephen Foster Neighborhood, “In a million years, I wouldn’t live there with my kids.

National Institute of Health (NIH): Dioxin exposure causes transgenerational health effects

27 Sep

In a WSU press release, Skinner said of his latest findings, “It is not just the individuals exposed, but potentially the great-grandchildren that may experience increased adult-onset disease susceptibility.”

By Brant Hamel

A new study, funded in part by NIEHS, found that dioxin affects not only the health of an exposed rat, but also unexposed descendants through a mechanism of epigenetic transgenerational inheritance.

The study was conducted in the laboratory of Michael Skinner, Ph.D., a professor in the Center for Reproductive Biology in the Department of Biological Sciences at Washington State University (WSU) who designed the study. Co-authors included assistant research professor Mohan Manikkam, Ph.D., research technician Rebecca Tracey, and postdoctoral researcher Carlos Guerrero-Bosagna, Ph.D.

“Although not designed for risk assessment, these results have implications for the human populations that are exposed to dioxin and are experiencing declines in fertility and increases in adult onset disease, with a potential to transmit them to later generations,” the authors concluded.

Dangers of dioxin last for decades after initial exposure

Dioxin, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo[p]dioxin (TCDD), is a chemical compound that constitutes part of the Agent Orange herbicide used as a defoliant in the Vietnam War. According to research cited in the study, exposure is estimated to have caused 400,000 deaths and 500,000 birth defects. Dioxin has also been released from industrial accidents, leading to human exposures. Due to its extremely long half-life of up to 10 years in humans, dioxin may still affect pregnancies occurring even 20 years after exposure.

In the Skinner group’s experiments, exposure to dioxin caused changes in the DNA methylation patterns of sperm that were transmitted across generations, in an imprinted-like manner, to affect the health of multiple generations of descendents. The grandchildren of exposed rats showed dioxin-induced effects ranging from polycystic ovarian disease to kidney disease. The work raises the serious concern that even if toxic chemicals, such as dioxin, were completely removed from the environment, they could continue to cause disease for multiple generations.

Health effects of dioxin include early onset of puberty in females

Skinner’s group used low in vivo doses of dioxin, so that toxic effects were not expected. Female rats were exposed while pregnant, and both their direct progeny and descendants two generations removed were examined.

Although the most prominent phenotypes were kidney disease in males and polycystic ovarian disease in females, a number of other effects including abscesses, colon impaction, lung abnormalities, and missing testes were also observed in animals from the dioxin-treated lineage. Additionally, females from the dioxin-exposed lineage experienced the early onset of puberty. Conversely, males showed delayed puberty, suggesting sex-specific effects of exposure. Early puberty in humans has increased over recent decades and is believed to have an environmental link.

Dioxin alters methylation patterns in germ line DNA across generations

The researchers were able to identify 50 specific regions of DNA that were differentially methylated in the dioxin-treated animals. These regions were permanently reprogrammed and protected from DNA methylation, in a manner that allowed them to be passed down across generations. In the future, these regions may serve as biomarkers that would allow early detection of exposure and risk for disease.

Other chemical compounds, including bisphenol A, phthalates, the insecticide DEET, and the jet fuel JP8 have all been shown to promote disease across generations, through a similar mechanism of epigenetic transgenerational inheritance (see story). This pathway of disease propagation exists not only in rats, but also in humans, mice, worms, flies, and even plants. Thus, future research will be needed to see if other environmental compounds may also lead to health effects across generations.

In addition to NIEHS, NIH and the U.S. Department of Defense provided support for the study.

Citation: Manikkam M, Tracey R, Guerrero-Bosagna C, Skinner MK. 2012. Dioxin (TCDD) induces epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of adult onset disease and sperm epimutations. PLoS One 7(9):e46249.

(Brant Hamel, Ph.D., is an Intramural Research Training Award fellow in the NIEHS Laboratory of Signal Transduction.)

http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2012/11/science-dioxin/

Alachua County Commission Votes to Ask Beazer East to Relocate Residents Out of Toxic Homes- Story and Video Coming Soon!!

19 Sep

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