Stephen Foster Neighborhood Association, Inc. Update

8 Jun

02/22/2011 Update:  

The Hazardous Cabot/Koppers Federal Superfund Site and In-Home Contamination
Test within 2miles of Koppers Superfund findings:

The Test:

For the first time in the nearly century-long history of the Koppers Co. chemical wood treatment plant in Gainesville, Florida, irrefutable scientific data has been collected regarding its impact on the health and well-being of Gainesville’s residents inside their homes.

Indoor dust samples and outdoor soil samples were analyzed to better understand the dangers and threats to human health caused by highly toxic chemicals used by the wood treatment industrial complex that until recently operated within the very center of the city for many decades.

Alarmingly, as a result of a battery of these new tests by a law firm group representing plaintiffs and affected citizens in a class action case against the well-known polluter Koppers Co., an average of 400 ppt (parts per trillion) of cancer-causing dioxins have been identified inside numerous Gainesville homes throughout a two-mile radius of the site.  The outside State clean-up standard is just 7 ppt.

Dioxins and heavy metals such as Arsenic and Chromium used in the wood treatment chemical cocktails, are some of the most toxic chemicals known to science (e.g. See, for example,, capable of causing various types of cancers, severe reproductive and developmental problems, birth defects, skin disorders, and many more devastating and life-threatening illnesses. A draft report released for public comment in September 1994 by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unequivocally designates dioxin as a serious public health threat.

Koppers’ carcinogenic wood preservative chemicals migrated beyond the confines of the hazardous Cabot/Koppers Superfund Site by various routes to penetrate the interior living spaces and outdoor soil areas of residential properties, thereby affecting thousands of families living nearby. The high levels of toxicity established by the wide area random sampling of around 120 homes reinforced the results of an earlier pilot study by the law firm group which revealed highly elevated levels of dioxin and dioxin-like compounds inside the living areas where families and young children reside.

The scientific tests and expert analyses were undertaken at a cost of over $300,000 to the law firm group. The definitive results confirm that high levels of dioxins, far above those permitted by both the U.S. federal government and Florida’s public safety standards were found in a radius of at least two miles from the Cabot-Koppers toxic Superfund Site.

The final results and expert analyses of this ongoing research have yet to be published. However, the emerging data and preliminary conclusions are already of tremendous Public Health importance and concern to all Gainesville residents. When taken together with the manner in which this company is known to have carelessly mismanaged the containment and disposal of these carcinogenic chemicals elsewhere throughout the US, this new research data further underscores the conclusion that such tests should have been undertaken decades ago by all local, state or federal government agencies responsible for monitoring the community’s health and wellbeing.


Postscript: Methodology …

To obtain the data, dioxin soil and indoor dust samples were collected from within an arbitrary 2-mile radius around the Cabot/Koppers Superfund site.  All residences within that distance were entered into a computer program which then randomly generated 600 sample sites. Permission to take samples was then obtained from 116 residents at these random sites and GPS coordinates for them were recorded. A certified contractor, using EPA-approved protocols and equipment, such as a special vacuum, then sampled dust from within the living areas of each of the 116 residences.

The 232 samples so obtained were divided between two laboratories for analysis, the first for arsenic and hexavalent chromium, the second for total dioxins using the EPA’s own approved methods and protocols. A sum total of 696 sample results for suspect compounds were thereby generated. Moreover, further crucial tests to still further “fingerprint” the origins of these dioxins are currently being worked on.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: