The Stigma Is Here To Stay…And It Won’t Whitewash Away

28 Oct

Research studies confirm that superfund neighborhoods retain their stigma even decades after EPA says they are clean and safe.

Stephen Foster Neighborhood is subject to an ongoing cycle of exodus and repopulation. When a generation of residents experiences the health effects of toxic exposure and learns about the superfund contamination that banks and realtors failed to disclose to them, population and property values plummet as homeowners abandon toxic homes to protect their families. The neighborhood repopulates as banks and realtors foreclose and sell the dangerous homes again without properly disclosing the Koppers Superfund Site and offsite contamination. More than 70% of Stephen Foster homes have been abandoned at least once.

When affected homeowners turn to the government for help, their elected officials’ response is to tell them they should sue. Residents who cannot afford to leave their hazardous homes are angered by the government’s failure to protect their families. Their anger, sense of hopelessness, and fear for their families’ future are well-founded. A partial list of resident-reported maladies related to toxic exposure including some diseases the Veteran Administration relates to Dioxin/Agent Orange includes:

Asthma Onset                                                        Neurological Impairment
Chloracne                                                               High Suicide Rate
Chronic B-cell Leukemias                                   Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Chronic headaches and nose bleeds                 Parkinson’s Disease
Chronic rashes and phantom itches                 Peripheral Neuropathy
Compromised Immune System                         Prostate Cancer
Diabetes Mellitus Type 2                                     Respiratory Cancers
Hodgkin’s Disease                                                 Soft Tissue Sarcomas
Ischemic Heart Disease                                       Spina Bifida, other Birth Defects
Liver Dysfunction                                                 Thyroid Cancer
Lupus                                                                       Unexplained Seizures
Multiple Myeloma                                                 Multiple Sclerosis

 Recent home sales in Stephen Foster reflecting the ongoing Superfund Stigma:

430 NW 31st Lane: Home purchased for $137,000 cash without Koppers disclosure was sold to investor for $6,600 after homeowner’s death from lung cancer. Homeowner never smoked and told family and neighbors that she blamed the house’s indoor contamination from Koppers for her illness and that she damned the day she moved to Gainesville and all the lying government agencies and elected do-nothing officials. When the investor was questioned by neighbors as to why he bought a contaminated home he said he didn’t care about the contamination because he wasn’t going to live there and he was going to make lots of money whether he rented or sold the property. Deceased homeowner had indoor testing of this house for Koppers chemicals and test results indicate that the house is highly contaminated.

500 NW 31st Lane: Home recently sold for $12,000 after homeowner’s death.

3119 NW 4th St: Home sold for $100. Tenants left for their health and safety after entire family was afflicted with illnesses that included chloracne, chronic nose bleeds and headaches, asthma onset, recurrent boils and abscesses, phantom itch and musculoskeletal pain. Family had no disclosure of the Koppers Superfund contamination problem in the neighborhood. Independent testing revealed severe contamination inside of house.

3139 NW 4th St: Home was purchased for $78,000 with no Koppers disclosure and recently sold for $42,000. Homeowner left for the health and safety of her young children.

3203 NW 4th St: Home was purchased for $106,000 with no Koppers disclosure. Bank recently resold property for $36,900 with no Koppers disclosure. Homeowner left to protect children’s health. Indoor and outdoor test results indicate that this property is highly contaminated.

3507 NW 4th St: Homeowner purchased this property for $126,000 with no Koppers disclosure. After foreclosing, bank sold to newowner for $48,900 without Koppers disclosure. Original foreclosed owner had the house independently tested and the toxic chemical contamination filed in court records. Afflicted by cancer, she blamed the indoor contamination and the ongoing toxic stormwater runoff that trespasses the property from the Koppers Superfund Site for her illness. Test results of this house indicate high levels of Koppers contamination indoors and outdoors.

514 NW 33rd Ave: Homeowner purchased property with no Koppers disclosure with a $133,000 loan. Original foreclosed owner had the house independently tested and the toxic chemical contamination filed in court records. After receiving the test results, homeowner disclosed the contamination to her tenants. Tenants decided to stay anyway. Two years later, several members of tenant family became victims of thyroid cancer. After the tenants left for their health and safety, the owner did not rent the property again and Bank recently resold property for $52,000 with no Koppers disclosure. New owners are no longer living on property after they learned their home and neighborhood is contaminated by Koppers Superfund Site. The home is highly contaminated indoors and outdoors.

3415 NW 5th St: Home was purchased for $187,000 with no Koppers disclosure. Bank recently resold the toxic property for $100 to investors. Family left for their children’s health and safety; the new investors are already reselling the contaminated property.

501 NW 28th Ave: Home was purchased for $138,900 with no Koppers disclosure. Bank recently resold the contaminated home for $34,000 after original owners abandoned the property due to many miscarriages and health issues associated with the contamination from the Koppers Superfund Site that the family was facing. Original owners had property independently tested for Koppers contamination and the results indicate that the house is severely contaminated inside.

431 NW 32nd Ave: Home was purchased for $174,000 with no Koppers disclosure. Bank resold property for $47,200 with no Koppers disclosure.

533 NW 29th Ave: Home was purchased for $108,000 with no Koppers disclosure. Bank resold property for $35,000 with no Koppers disclosure. Original owners abandoned property due to health and safety concerns and Koppers contamination of their home. New homeowner planning to move for health and safety.

519 NW 29th Ave: Home was purchased with no Koppers disclosure. Bank resold property recently for $35,000 with no Koppers disclosure. Original owners abandoned property for their health and safety because of the Koppers contamination of their home. Present tenant at this property had no Koppers disclosure and will be moving for their health and safety.

501 NW 29th Ave: Home has been empty for two years. The longtime tenants left for their health and safety after the entire family- three generations- was afflicted with multiple illnesses including chloracne, chronic nose bleeds and headaches, asthma onset, recurrent extremely painful boils and abscesses, and multiple cancers. Recently the youngest member of the family, a 15 year-old boy, was told he has leukemia. Family had no disclosure of the Koppers Superfund contamination problem in the neighborhood.

3403 NW 3rd Ave: Home was purchased for $91,000 with no Koppers disclosure. After the family left for their health and safety, the bank foreclosed and resold property to an investor for $41,500.

529 NW 30th Ave: Home was purchased for $85,000. The owner left for health and safety, the bank foreclosed, and the property sits empty.

537 NW 30th Ave: Home was purchased for $85,000. The owner left for health and safety, the bank foreclosed and this property also sits empty.

425 NW 37th Ave: Home’s original loan was $137,000. Property owner received no Koppers disclosure. Foreclosed owner had the house independently tested and the toxic chemical contamination filed in court records. After receiving test results, the homeowner disclosed the contamination to her tenants. Tenants decided to move for their health and safety and owner did not rent this property again. Bank foreclosed and listed property for $68,000. The property never sold and still sits empty two years later. Filed indoor and outdoor test results reveal that this property is highly toxic. The property owner also received registered test results from the State of Florida stating that this property is contaminated.

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2 Responses to “The Stigma Is Here To Stay…And It Won’t Whitewash Away”

  1. Donna Vidal December 30, 2014 at 11:22 pm #

    New to all this information. Understandably very disappointed.
    Are employers in this area supposed to inform individuals prior
    to employment about the 2 mile radius the prospective employee
    would be working in?
    Thank you for any information.

    • koppersgainesville March 12, 2015 at 12:53 am #

      Realtors, property appraisers, banks/lenders, landlords and private home sellers are legally required to disclose the presence of the superfund site in the area. Prospective employers do not have a legal obligation, just a moral one. The hard-learned lesson here is research any area before relocating.

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