Koppers Health Warnings
In August 2009, ATSDR and the Florida Department of Health began issuing an ongoing series of health warnings to residents of Stephen Foster Neighborhood including:
*Residents should wash hands after contact with soil and water.
*Parents should keep children from playing in contaminated soils.
*Residents should mow lawns only when it is not dry and dusty, and should avoid exposure to dust from mowing.
*Residents should keep chickens used for homegrown eggs in elevated coops because dioxin contamination was found in eggs from neighborhood free-range chickens.
*Eating homegrown vegetables such as zucchini could cause thyroid changes and fertility problems, and increase cancer risk. There are many unknowns in assessing the real health risk.
“In a million years, I wouldn’t live there with my kids.” –City Commissioner Todd Chase on Koppers contamination in Stephen Foster Neighborhood
Koppers Disclosure Required by Law
Florida Statutes require the presence of Koppers and its contamination to be fully disclosed to homebuyers and renters in our neighborhood.
Recent homebuyers and renters are reporting that they received no disclosure of Koppers Superfund and its contamination. Some report receiving incomplete or misleading information about the Site and its health hazards.
Non-disclosed or improperly disclosed homeowners and renters have three years from the date they first learn of the contamination to take legal action, and some recent homebuyers are currently filing non-disclosure lawsuits. Renters who went before the City Commission about their non-disclosure have been let out of their leases by their landlords.
Homes More Contaminated Inside than Out
Over 100 local homes were independently tested for Dioxin, Arsenic and PAH’s. The results are alarming: the inside of tested Stephen Foster Neighborhood homes average 400 to over 1,100 times more contamination than the toxic soil that EPA/Beazer East is removing from yards.
“We have a very serious problem here that one foot of soil is not going to cure” -timber industry and remediation expert Bob Burton
No Guarantee that Soil Replacement will Work- and No Second Chance
Residents refusing EPA/Beazer East’s one foot soil replacement are doing so because soil replacement did not work here in the past: two to sixty feet of toxic soil were removed and replaced with new soil. When the new soil was tested three years later, it had become just as contaminated as the original soil.
EPA/Beazer East will not guarantee that the soil replacement will work- and they have stated that they will not test the new soil later. If the new soil becomes contaminated -as has happened every time in the past -residents who had the soil replacement will be left with toxic soil and toxic homes with no entity legally bound to help them out.
However, Beazer East’s Mitchell Brourman stated at the soil remediation meeting in May that residents can back out of the soil replacement contract anytime before soil removal is performed on their property.
“We’re not coming back.” -Mitchell Brourman to City Commission: Beazer East is done in Stephen Foster Neighborhood after twelve inch soil removal- even if it fails.
Residents’ Relocation Efforts Unaffected by Koppers Consent Decree
There are many precedents for relocation in Superfund Communities like Stephen Foster Neighborhood. Beazer East can choose to be a good neighbor in reality and introduce an option to help families move out of Koppers contaminated homes.
Superfund Communities who have achieved relocation for their families advise Stephen Foster Neighborhood residents that their relocations were achieved after federal consent decrees were signed. They stress the importance of continuing to demand relocation out of Dioxin-Arsenic-PAH contaminated homes.
Gainesville City Commissioner Hinson-Rawls wants residents made whole and told Beazer East to “Just purchase the homes”
Update provided by
Stephen Foster Neighborhood Association, Inc.
Stephen Foster Neighborhood Protection Group