Archive | September, 2011

Pet owner tells us about her pets living within Koppers/Beazer East Superfund, Gainesville, Florida

29 Sep

Dogs who get skin rash whenever they are outside and lay on the dirt. Dog who died because her platelets were destroyed and her blood could no longer clot. Cats dying of various forms of cancer that are classed as “rare” or “uncommon”. Cats within a household suddenly showing degrees of “head tilt” all at the same time; one severe enough that he died, the others still have head tilt two years later. Never have I seen this before moving to this neighborhood near Koppers. – Karen

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Newly add comment to “Your Voices” Page regarding Koppers/Beazer East Superfund Gainesville, Florida

28 Sep

C.J.
I’ve lived 30m from the boundary fence for over 15yr in one of the most-affected areas… I have never been informed of any issue, except by Maria Parsons’ efforts to mount a class-action lawsuit to address our health concerns in 2009. I’ve followed every bit of information I’ve been given, called every phone number, etc. Yet, I cannot even get on a mailing list nor call list: every scant piece of [non-]information I’ve received has just been left on my doorstep by the Dept of Health. My yard was marked for sampling, but no sampling was ever done. Some party did mail notification to my landlady, at the wrong address, telling about intended sampling that was never done. Now I see there is a “competing” activist group trying to speak for me, in theory, yet none of them wants to speak to me in person. I think I’ve managed to identify the group (this one) that is actually trying to help affected people, rather than the more high-profile group that is taking all available grant money and paying it back to themselves. Thank you, Maria and fellow residents of the neighborhood, for being true advocates. This is such a serious issue; I am now sick with cancer; it makes me even more sick that the issue is being split up by a community that should be working together. Also, I know that the DoH “health study” is nothing but an insulting, dangerous ruse because DoH has never asked me about my health status, even though I called them begging to give my input.

Koppers/Beazer East Superfund Gainesville letter to Dr. Sharon Watkins at FL-DOH in Tallahassee, Florida

20 Sep

Dear Sharon Watkins,

Fortunately, we have had much greater in-depth testing done privately,
identifying identical molecules of cancer causing materials found at the
Cabot-Koppers sites that match those found in very large amounts within the dust
of homes, yards, and near the schools.

I do not believe the large concentration of, in particular, thyroid cancers in
residents of the Stephen Foster Neighborhood to be coincidental.  How frequently
is it found that every family on a single block has at least one family member
with, or died from, the same form of cancers outside of proximity to a
Superfund site?  We have found families in which every single member of the
household has/had some form of cancer over a 30 year period with one family
having lost 19 members to cancer over this time period.

I do not believe my malignant melanoma of the foot as well as my Multiple
Sclerosis are due to anything but my having lived so very close to the Superfund
site for 16 years.  Having to sell my house at a loss and losing my ability to
perform my prior work as a hospital Director of Nursing and Director of
Investigational Drug Studies in the past and, in fact, unable to work at all for
the past 10 years, I believe is due to my exposure to the dust and contaminated
soil from the site.

Though a past lawsuit awarded about one million dollars to Paul Massey, as
the courts determined his MS was resultant from his contact with contaminants
from the superfund site next to his place of work,  no study has been proposed
to investigate the relationship between the superfund carcinogens and neurologic
diseases.  Unfortunately, Paul Massey has since died of his disease, determined
in his lawsuit to have been caused by contact with the known carcinogens at the
site.

Yes, a true study of the relationships among various and numerous diagnoses that
appear to be out of proportion to the norm would be costly and time consuming.
It can and should be done not just by those who are affected, but by the
taxpayer funded Department of Health.  Claiming that gleaning information from
incomplete data constitutes a “health study” is misleading and, to many,
immoral.  Placing the burden of the studies that have been done privately on
those affected is not only immoral, but minimizes the standing of the DOH.

I find it interesting that more and more people are calling, sharing their
stories with cancers that they or family members had contracted over the many years
of living in the Stephen Foster Neighborhood.  In fact, a gentleman recently
realized and shared with his church congregation that he had lived in the neighborhood,
but had moved away at a young age, leaving his family behind.  He was fortunate in
that he was clear of disease, but related that all the rest of his family,
including the family dog, had continued to live in the area and all had passed away due to
cancer.

I do thank you for your response.  The fact sheets that you provided a link to
were simplistic and failed to provide any information that a 6th grader should
already understand and your directive to send any further inquiries to Anthony
Dennis did provide a bit of levity, as he has shown himself to be completely
ignorant of how these issues can/should be addressed.  It is also interesting to
find that you directed me back to Anthony Dennis, who has no medical background,
nor do he or his coworkers and supervisor, Randy Merchant, have education
or experience in dealing with medical issues, superfund sites, or practice in
performing or interpreting epidemiologic studies of any kind.  I am curious as
to your own education and experience and would appreciate your sharing this with
me.  I and my past neighbors would like to know who in the Department of
Health in FL has any appropriate qualifications regarding the issues I have
addressed.

Sincerely,
Anne L.
formerly from 3310 NW 4th St
Gainesville, FL 32609
currently at 3148 NW 114th Terr
Gainesville, Fl 32606

Koppers/Beazer East Superfund Meeting Sept. 22nd at 7:00PM

18 Sep

COME TO BOOKS-A-MILLION AT 2601 NW 13TH STREET ON THURSDAY,
SEPTEMBER 22ND AT 7:00PM

FOR THE LATEST INFORMATION ON THE IMPACT OF KOPPERS
CONTAMINATION ON PROPERTY VALUE AND ON YOUR HEALTH WHETHER
YOU OWN OR RENT:

  • ALACHUA COUNTY COMMISSION’S LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA ASKING FOR HIS ASSISTANCE AND INFLUENCE TO EXPEDITE THE RELOCATION OF RESIDENTS OUT OF CONTAMINATED HOMES AND FOR A REAL CORRECTIVE SOLUTION TO CLEAN UP THE TOXIC KOPPERS SITE AND TO PROTECT OUR MUNICIPAL WATER SUPPLY
  • LATEST LOCAL PROPERTY VALUES
  • COMPARABLE HOME SALES
  • NEIGHBORHOOD BLIGHT
  • BLUE ZONE DESIGNATION
  • LOW INCOME/SECTION 8 CONCERNS
  • LOCAL BUSINESSES RECEIVE KOPPERS CONTAMINATION TAX DISCOUNT UPON REQUEST
  • HOW TO REQUEST YOUR OWN PROPERTY TAX DISCOUNT TO REFLECT ACTUAL PROPERTY VALUE

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO REPORT HOW KOPPERS CONTAMINATION HAS AFFECTED
YOU AND YOUR FAMILY, VISIT www.KoppersGainesville.com

 

MEETING SPONSORED BY GAINESVILLE UNITED NEIGHBORHOODS, STEPHEN FOSTER NEIGHBORHOOD
ASSOCIATION, INCORPORATED & THE STEPHEN FOSTER NEIGHBORHOOD PROTECTION GROUP

Major Chemical Releases or Waste Generation in ALACHUA County, Florida

14 Sep

This information is from http://scorecard.goodguide.com/

See more here: http://scorecard.goodguide.com/env-releases/county.tcl?fips_county_code=12001#major_chemical_releases

See how this county ranks on other chemical release and waste management attributes tracked by Scorecard

Rank counties in FLORIDA or facilities in ALACHUA County by chemical releases or waste generation

*Note: These rankings are based on chemical releases and transfers reported by industrial facilities to the Toxics Release Inventory, and do not take into account major sources of pollution or toxic chemicals that are not covered by TRI.

Above is for Alachua County. Now lets compare that to a BIG county in Florida , like Tampa Bay area. The number are VERY SCARY!!!! Welcome to Tocixville!

See more here : http://scorecard.goodguide.com/env-releases/county.tcl?fips_county_code=12103#major_chemical_releases

See how this county ranks on other chemical release and waste management attributes tracked by Scorecard

Rank counties in FLORIDA or facilities in PINELLAS County by chemical releases or waste generation

*Note: These rankings are based on chemical releases and transfers reported by industrial facilities to the Toxics Release Inventory, and do not take into account major sources of pollution or toxic chemicals that are not covered by TRI.

Gainesville’s Cabot-Koppers/Beazer East Superfund Site – Norah Givens Testifies

13 Sep

Long-time Gainesville resident, Norah Givens, lives close to the still active Cabot-Koppers Superfund Site which lies at the very heart of the city and pollutes neighborhoods and waterways for miles around with dioxins, arsenic, and other such highly toxic and dangerous carcinogens. On the Public Record, she asks some of the many important questions on the lips of numerous local residents, to which there has been virtually no effective response or beneficial corrective action from any level of government since the site was federally listed nearly 27 years ago!

Gainesville’s Cabot-Koppers/Beazer East Superfund Site – Ban Koppers Protest Wall

12 Sep

For Gainesville residents who are still only vaguely aware, our city’s heart is black and toxic. Since its creation way back in 1916 for use by a chemical treatment plant for wood products, esp. telephone poles and railroad ties, using creosote, and subsequently even more poisonous Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA), this site has been chemically abused. Now known as the Cabot-Koppers Superfund (= Hazardous!) site, it has reached a warning level where this travesty can now no longer be ignored, having become a serious threat to Gainesville as a once pleasant place in which to live and be educated. Astoundingly, to this day, Koppers Co. is being allowed to continue to pollute Gainesville, from its center outwards into all surrounding neighborhoods. Identical dire waring signals about Koppers related environmental and Public Health issues have steadily come to light over the last two decades in many other towns and cities in states throughout the nation; places such as Grenada/Mississippi, Oroville/California, and Somerville/Texas where lawsuits have been filed against the company for numerous pollution-related violations. Simply search the Internet and you will see for yourself.

Bob Palmer, Chairman, Alachua County EPAC comments on Health Consultation on Surface Soils near the Gainesville FL Superfund Site

3 Sep

TO:                  Randy Merchant, Florida Department of Health

FROM:            Bob Palmer, Chairman, Alachua County EPAC

Joe Prager, Publisher of BANCCA.org

SUBJ:              Comments on June 6, 2001 Health Consultation on Surface Soils near the

Gainesville FL Superfund Site

DATE:            July 12, 2011

These comments relate to the June 6, 2011, Florida Department of Health Consultation entitled “Surface Soil in Stephen Foster Neighborhood Yards and Areas North, East, and South of the Koppers Hazardous Waste Site”. The public comment on this document ends on August 8, 2011, and I would ask that you share these comments, as appropriate, with other State and Federal officials and the public.

My principal comment relates to the descriptors of risk routinely utilized by FL-DOH in many of its risk assessment documents.  These terms appear on page 9 of the most recent Koppers health consultation:

1 in 10 (10-1)                “very high” increased cancer risk

1 in 100 (10-2)              “high” increased cancer risk

1 in 1,000 (10-3)           “moderate” increased cancer risk

1 in 10,000 (10-4)         “low” increased cancer risk

1 in 100,000 (10-5)       “very low” increased cancer risk

1 in 1,000,000 (10-6)    “extremely low” increased cancer risk

There are three problems with FL-DOH’s risk terminology.

First, DOH doesn’t use the terms consistently in its analysis.  For instance, on page 10, the risk of developing cancer from dioxins in Stephen Foster soils is characterized as 20 x 10-6.  On page 12, the risk of developing cancer from PAH’s in off-site soils is cited as 70 x 10-6.  It’s not clear why categories like:

1 in 10,000 (10-4)         “low” increased cancer risk

1 in 100,000 (10-5)       “very low” increased cancer risk

are listed on page 9 if FL-DOH doesn’t actually use them in the actual analysis.  Reducing every risk value to some multiple of 10-6 might leave the mathematically unsophisticated reader with the impression that all risks are in the “extremely low” category.  That may not be FL-DOH’s intention, but I can think of no good reason why your department would develop a scale that it doesn’t actually use in its analysis.

Secondly, wording in the text and in the tables at the end of the document appears to be inconsistent; the effect of this disconnect seemingly minimizes the potential carcinogenic impact of dioxins on children in the Stephen Foster neighborhood.   Table 4 cites the estimated maximum child dose for dioxin as 10-5 ug/kg/day and the estimated maximum adult dose as 10-6 ug/kg/day.   On page 10, the theoretical increased lifetime cancer risk from these exposures is described as follows:

“Cancer risk – People who incidentally ingest (swallow) very small amounts of surface soil with the highest TCDD-TEQ levels in the Stephen Foster neighborhood yards over an entire lifetime (70 years) are at a “very low” increased theoretical risk of cancer (Table 4). Multiplying the maximum TCDD-TEQ dose (0.0000001 μg/kg/day) by the EPA cancer slope factor (150 μg/kg/day-1) results in a “very low” additional increased theoretical cancer risk of 20 in a million or 20 x 10-6

No mention is made on page 10 of the increased theoretical risk of cancer for children.  If one multiplies the maximum TCDD-TEQ dose for children by the EPA cancer slope factor, the result is an increased theoretical cancer risk that is 10 times as large (2 x 10-4) as the risk cited on page 10 (2 x 10-5).  To a lay reader it is not at all clear why you appear to be only citing risks for adults and why the apparently greater risks to children are not described in the body of the report[1].

Thirdly, and most importantly, no rationale is given for the categories of risk (e.g. “extremely low” and “very low”) listed on page 9.  These vague terms, which are used at least eight times in the body of the report, have no regulatory significance, but their repeated usage leaves the impression that they do.  Rather than clarifying risk, the use of terms like “extremely low” clouds the reader’s understanding of the regulations that govern cancer risk.  For example, a cancer risk of 9 x 10-5 would be characterized by FL-DOH as “very low”.  An alternative descriptor for this level of risk would be “90 times more carcinogenic than the level which triggers regulatory action for soils under Florida law”.  The phrase “very low” is bland and reassuring, but the phrase “90 times more carcinogenic”, however alarming, is in fact more accurate.  In attempting to avoid frightening the public, DOH appears to be using language that veers too far in the other direction.  Your terminology comes off not as reassuring but as obfuscating.

At a minimum, any DOH document that uses the descriptors on page 9 should include a section explaining their derivation and their relationship to State and Federal regulations.  Ideally, the entire scheme should be replaced by one that more clearly reflects the scientific and regulatory reality of cancer risk.  Perhaps values between 10-6 and 10-5 could be labeled “of some concern” and so forth.  Or perhaps the risk level should simply be given (e.g. “1 chance in 45,000”), leaving the interpretation to the reader.  Either of these alternatives would be preferable to the current system, which perpetuates the disconnect between DOH’s characterization of risk on the one hand and State and Federal regulatory triggers on the other.


[1] Page 10 does cite the risk “over an entire lifetime” so perhaps your calculations reflect the fact that individuals will only receive the higher dose for a limited time (i.e. during the childhood years).  Nevertheless, it seems to me that a child exposed to 10 times the adult dose will achieve an adult’s 70-year risk within 7 years, and will then have an additional 63 years to accumulate further dosages.  In any event, the discussion of exposures for children and adults is confusing and falls short of your goal of clearly informing the public about probable risks.

DOH report: http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/113128/cabot-koppers-cancer-report.pdf

Last day for public comments is Sept 8th on Koppers Superfund “Health Study”

3 Sep

The last day for public comments regarding the “Health Study”  from the DOH is Sept. 8th 2011. Email your comments to

Randy Merchant, FL DOH, randy_merchant@doh.state.fl.us and for Anthony Dennis, Alachua County Environmental Health Director anthony_dennis@doh.state.fl.us