Tag Archives: blight

Protect Gainesville’s Citizens Indoor Dioxin Study is Just Plain WRONG

6 Oct

Part Four: Toys in the Attic

Attic-Air-Pollution

In the last several years, a growing body of scientific evidence has indicated that the air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities. This would be exponentially compounded if there were exposure pathways of contaminants from a Superfund site. Other research indicates that people spend approximately 90% of their time indoors. Thus, for many people, the risks to health from exposure to indoor air pollution may be greater than risks from outdoor pollution.

Elderly manAdditionally, people exposed to indoor air pollutants for the longest periods are often those most susceptible to their effects. Such groups include the young, the elderly, and the chronically ill, especially those suffering from respiratory or cardiovascular disease.

According to the “workgroup”, there was no data on indoor contamination prior to their 2012 round of indoor testing. “The past health risk from exposures to chlorinated dioxins/furans in the dust of 17 homes near the Koppers facility prior to 2012 is unknown. There was no testing of indoor dust specifically for chlorinated dioxins/furans prior to 2012.”  

AtticAccess2However, there is a massive amount of research on testing attic dust samples for historical loading of contaminants. That means you can utilize attic samples to determine contamination from the past. US EPA has studied the risk of exposure to chemicals in the home resulting from renovation and remodeling activities and has also concluded that an exposure pathway is complete when occupants access the attic space. Houses are designed to breathe. An attic is like a time capsule of a neighborhood’s environment.

The ridiculous reason given for not sampling attics was that the “workgroup” felt attics were either non-existent or too small for residents’ use. There is absolutely no evidence supporting this, quite the contrary. Who doesn’t utilize storage space? And even if people don’t access their attics very often, when they do, they could be exposed to higher concentrations of contamination. Residents asked about getting their attics tested but were denied even though it would have filled the gaping hole of unknown past health risk from exposures to chlorinated dioxins/furans in the dust of  homes near the Koppers facility prior to 2012. The lame excuse and uncompassionate remedy  the “workgroup”  offered in the Indoor Contamination Study stated ”Because the attics of houses near the Koppers facility are typically small and the amount of time people spend in their attics is limited, the indoor dust workgroup did not recommend EPA test attic dust. Homeowners, however, can always choose to test attic dust at their own expense.”

AtticAccessRoomOnce again, the burden of proof and the prohibitive expenditure is on the homeowner. Will there be deed restrictions to access attics or to do home renovations in the Stephen Foster neighborhood? The “workgroup” even goes so far as to state, “This report does not, however, address whether the Koppers facility is the only or major source of dioxins in the dust of nearby houses.”

So, what does the report address? Seems like the only thing the “workgroup” took plenty of time to do in the report was to try to invalidate the independent indoor tests residents had done that fingerprinted dioxin contamination to the Koppers facility. Beazer East has already said they are not coming back if more contamination is found in the neighborhood, and the City of Gainesville has released them from any legal responsibility, so who do sick and dying residents have to turn to for help? Legal recourse is the only avenue left, but unless you’re made of money and can ride out the “stonewall” the responsible party has used successfully for the past thirty years, you’re out of luck.

Thanks “Protection Agencies” for analyzing sample data provided by the responsible party to determine how much they would have to clean up the surrounding neighborhoods. Your conclusions really helped…..the responsible party.

Attic-air-quality-family

 

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Pretend Gainesville Cares’ Indoor Dioxin Study Is Just Plain WRONG

15 Sep

Part Three: Workgroup’s Indoor Dioxin Study Ignored Two of the Three Exposure Pathways for Contaminants

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Only one pathway of exposure was studied in the workgroup’s investigation of indoor contamination in the Stephen Foster neighborhood. The tracking in of contaminated outdoor soil which might result in the incidental swallowing of very small amounts of indoor dust. Samples for this pathway were obtained by vacuuming dust from floors. There are two other equally relevant pathways of exposure that also meet all five criteria according to the EPA’s pathway of exposure definition that the workgroup failed to study.

hazmat babyTheir study “does not address inhalation of indoor dust. Because of the large day to day variation in indoor air quality, the 2011 dioxin dust workgroup (made up of county/state/federal health & environmental agencies, University of Florida toxicologists, ‘community leaders’, and THE RESPONSIBLE PARTY) did not recommend indoor air testing.” Why would a valid toxic exposure pathway not be studied?

 

“Also, extrapolation of indoor air dioxin levels based on levels in carpets and on floors is too uncertain to accurately assess the health risk from dust inhalation.” Why would an indoor AIR test be sampled from carpets or floors? The devil is in the details and makes it much easier to understand this strange choice of a sample area for indoor AIR testing. Because floor dust is tracked in from outside by foot traffic and is the only pathway affected by the outside soil removal undertaken by the responsible party as a clean-up solution. Beazer East, Inc. funded and supplied the EPA with indoor test results of the one and only pathway with a direct tie to the outside soil remediation they were performing.

Attic-air-quality-test-services

hazmat dog“This report also does not address skin contact with dioxins in indoor dust. Health scientists know too little about the toxicity of dioxins from skin contact to assess the health risk.” But, the workgroup had no problem foraying into uncharted waters when they devoted the bulk of their indoor dioxin study to the brominated dioxins found in homes, even though “health scientists know too little about the toxicity of the brominated dioxins/furans to assess their health risk” and they do not even originate from the Superfund site.

The excuses for not using two ironclad contamination exposure pathways make no sense unless the only pathway of exposure the workgroup wants to consider is the one Beazer East “theoretically” diminished by the replacement of outside soil to the State standard of 7ppt.

The same entities that set the INDOOR dioxin contamination cleanup standard to the unusually high 190 ppt behind closed doors, also decided not to pursue these genuine health risk pathways. So why only use the floor dust as a pathway of exposure, when “Remedial Action Plans (RAPs) should not be approved without a demonstration that ALL relevant pathways have been addressed”? It would be economically catastrophic to Koppers Industries’ wallet if a precedent of permanent relocation, or even an area-wide indoor home remediation was initiated here in Gainesville Florida, and would set the dominoes falling throughout their entire empire of Superfund sites (and they have many, all around the world). This is where people’s lives get trumped by something called “cost prohibitness”. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And when the company in charge of the clean-up is also in charge of determining how much they have to clean, the residents with contaminated homes are being manipulated and marginalized in a real game of life or death. If there was enough contamination outside for a foot of soil to be removed across the entire neighborhood, why are some residents being condemned to live in homes with much higher levels of contamination on the inside?

MoneyOverLives

 

WELLS FARGO REPACKAGES DIOXIN CONTAMINATED HOMES FOR RESALE TO LOW INCOME FAMILIES

4 Aug

Before_After

Wells-Fargo and other banks are profiting by foreclosing and reselling Cabot-Koppers Superfund site contaminated properties, in Gainesville Florida. Wells-Fargo covers up all evidence of contamination before the resale and does not disclose to the new buyer despite Florida law requiring them to do so.

According to their mission statement, “Wells Fargo’s ongoing respect for human rights reflects our vision and values. This effort is done with the understanding that in some circumstances we may go above and beyond what the law and industry standards require. We are dedicated to corporate social responsibility and strive to uphold human rights in all our business activities.”

Ignoring this mission statement and families‘ pleas for assistance out of Gainesville Koppers Arsenic-Dioxin-PAH contaminated homes, Wells-Fargo forecloses on the dangerous properties,  continuing their pattern of discriminatory mortgage lending practices. This happens even when attorneys for the residents provide test results of the contamination inside their houses. With the toxic cocktail that tests have fingerprinted to the Koppers Superfund site, some of these homes are more contaminated than a meth house.

The Stephen Foster Neighborhood in Gainesville Florida 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. Lured by cheap home sales, low income families and rental investors repopulate the neighborhood after banks foreclose and resell the dangerous homes without disclosing the Koppers Superfund Site or the indoor contamination of the surrounding communities.

Because residents are gathering at onsite auctions to protest the resale of highly contaminated homes, banks like Wells-Fargo are resorting to the new tactic of online auctions and live auctions in cities far from where properties are actually located, to shut out the public outcry. Case in point, a before and after of the above property which is one of the most highly contaminated residences in the neighborhood, auctioned off by Wells Fargo with no disclosure as required by Florida law.

The Gainesville City Attorney’s recommendation to homebuyers who have unwittingly purchased a Koppers contaminated home without disclosure is to take legal action and file suit as soon as possible to protect your family.