Tag Archives: coast to coast

HUD Helps Banks Unload Koppers Toxic Homes

23 Aug

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is selling Dioxin-Arsenic-PAH contaminated houses in Gainesville Superfund neighborhoods- and failing to disclose the dangerous contamination to unsuspecting low income families buying these toxic homes.
As established residents abandon the homes that have made their families sick, banks foreclose on the Koppers health hazard homes. Homeowners contact their lenders who have knowingly sold them non-disclosed contaminated homes, seeking cooperation with exit strategies for their families’ safety. The banks immediately respond with foreclosure.
Since federal regulations prohibit banks from dealing in contaminated properties, they need a back door to discard these Superfund homes. These banks, including Wells Fargo, BOA and JP Morgan, having already profited from financing and foreclosing on the toxic housing, wash their hands of this PR nightmare by “transferring” the deadly domiciles to HUD for disposal. In response to residents’ questions about the sale of hazardous homes, HUD states that they routinely sell contaminated houses with impunity because they are not required to disclose. Taxpayer-funded HUD oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Selling toxic homes to low income families contradicts HUD’s published directives to protect consumers and improve their quality of life.
Unprincipled local realtors knowingly sell Gainesville Superfund homes on HUD’s behalf. The City of Gainesville and Alachua County Commissions have warned realtors including Bosshardt, Watson Realty and MM Parrish/Coldwell Banker against selling Koppers contaminated properties without providing the legally (and morally) required disclosure to potential homebuyers and renters. But upset new homeowners and renters are still reporting that Koppers contamination was not disclosed to them. Several of these families are already moving out of the area.
Many Gainesville Koppers contaminated homes sold by HUD were previously independently tested. These test results were submitted as evidence in foreclosure court records, and are public documents. Test results for some contaminated homes, including the addresses below, can be found on the Clerk of Court Public Record. Some of these contaminated foreclosed homes have already been sold without disclosure.
514 NW 31st Lane
3507 NW 4th Street
501 NW 28th Avenue
514 NW 33rd Avenue
425 NW 37th Avenue
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Gainesville Commissioner Chase says of Stephen Foster Neighborhood, “In a million years, I wouldn’t live there with my kids.”

7 Oct

Resident Sharon Sheets wants relocation: “Half my life in contamination

Resident Farinda O’Steen: “I’m up to 20 in my family that have died over that (Koppers) plant and I want out of the neighborhood

Resident Alice Alonso wants to know why Beazer East/Koppers executives like Mitchell Brourman haven’t been jailed.  Mayor Braddy agrees that Mrs. Alonso would be arrested for terrorism if she purchased their deadly chemical cocktail that’s killing her family and neighbors.

Industry Expert Bob Burton tells Commission, “We have a very serious problem here that one foot of soil is not going to cure

Gainesville Commissioner Hinson-Rawls wants residents made whole: “Just purchase the homes

We’re not coming back.” Beazer East executive Mitchell Brourman says they’re done in Stephen Foster Neighborhood after twelve inch soil removal even if it fails.

Gainesville Commissioner Chase says of Stephen Foster Neighborhood, “In a million years, I wouldn’t live there with my kids.

National Institute of Health (NIH): Dioxin exposure causes transgenerational health effects

27 Sep

In a WSU press release, Skinner said of his latest findings, “It is not just the individuals exposed, but potentially the great-grandchildren that may experience increased adult-onset disease susceptibility.”

By Brant Hamel

A new study, funded in part by NIEHS, found that dioxin affects not only the health of an exposed rat, but also unexposed descendants through a mechanism of epigenetic transgenerational inheritance.

The study was conducted in the laboratory of Michael Skinner, Ph.D., a professor in the Center for Reproductive Biology in the Department of Biological Sciences at Washington State University (WSU) who designed the study. Co-authors included assistant research professor Mohan Manikkam, Ph.D., research technician Rebecca Tracey, and postdoctoral researcher Carlos Guerrero-Bosagna, Ph.D.

“Although not designed for risk assessment, these results have implications for the human populations that are exposed to dioxin and are experiencing declines in fertility and increases in adult onset disease, with a potential to transmit them to later generations,” the authors concluded.

Dangers of dioxin last for decades after initial exposure

Dioxin, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo[p]dioxin (TCDD), is a chemical compound that constitutes part of the Agent Orange herbicide used as a defoliant in the Vietnam War. According to research cited in the study, exposure is estimated to have caused 400,000 deaths and 500,000 birth defects. Dioxin has also been released from industrial accidents, leading to human exposures. Due to its extremely long half-life of up to 10 years in humans, dioxin may still affect pregnancies occurring even 20 years after exposure.

In the Skinner group’s experiments, exposure to dioxin caused changes in the DNA methylation patterns of sperm that were transmitted across generations, in an imprinted-like manner, to affect the health of multiple generations of descendents. The grandchildren of exposed rats showed dioxin-induced effects ranging from polycystic ovarian disease to kidney disease. The work raises the serious concern that even if toxic chemicals, such as dioxin, were completely removed from the environment, they could continue to cause disease for multiple generations.

Health effects of dioxin include early onset of puberty in females

Skinner’s group used low in vivo doses of dioxin, so that toxic effects were not expected. Female rats were exposed while pregnant, and both their direct progeny and descendants two generations removed were examined.

Although the most prominent phenotypes were kidney disease in males and polycystic ovarian disease in females, a number of other effects including abscesses, colon impaction, lung abnormalities, and missing testes were also observed in animals from the dioxin-treated lineage. Additionally, females from the dioxin-exposed lineage experienced the early onset of puberty. Conversely, males showed delayed puberty, suggesting sex-specific effects of exposure. Early puberty in humans has increased over recent decades and is believed to have an environmental link.

Dioxin alters methylation patterns in germ line DNA across generations

The researchers were able to identify 50 specific regions of DNA that were differentially methylated in the dioxin-treated animals. These regions were permanently reprogrammed and protected from DNA methylation, in a manner that allowed them to be passed down across generations. In the future, these regions may serve as biomarkers that would allow early detection of exposure and risk for disease.

Other chemical compounds, including bisphenol A, phthalates, the insecticide DEET, and the jet fuel JP8 have all been shown to promote disease across generations, through a similar mechanism of epigenetic transgenerational inheritance (see story). This pathway of disease propagation exists not only in rats, but also in humans, mice, worms, flies, and even plants. Thus, future research will be needed to see if other environmental compounds may also lead to health effects across generations.

In addition to NIEHS, NIH and the U.S. Department of Defense provided support for the study.

Citation: Manikkam M, Tracey R, Guerrero-Bosagna C, Skinner MK. 2012. Dioxin (TCDD) induces epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of adult onset disease and sperm epimutations. PLoS One 7(9):e46249.

(Brant Hamel, Ph.D., is an Intramural Research Training Award fellow in the NIEHS Laboratory of Signal Transduction.)

http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2012/11/science-dioxin/

GAINESVILLE RESIDENTS REJECT FRAUDULENT SOIL TEST RESULTS

19 Jun

We the victims of Koppers Gainesville, one of the Nation’s oldest and most toxic Superfund Sites, outright reject AMEC’s soil sampling due to these facts:

Trees absorb contaminants from adjacent soils, thereby lowering the toxin levels in those soils.  Stephen Foster Neighborhood residents saw employees of AMEC- also known as MACTEC- break soil collection protocol by taking samples from soil immediately next to tree-trunks.  And, in the months prior to soil collection, residents saw new soil added to several properties where soil samples were later collected.

Worse, many residents witnessed AMEC employees diluting soil samples.  They were seen performing the following actions:

1.     Placing clean soil from a potting soil bag into a stainless steel mixing bowl
2.    Collecting a small scraping of soil from a resident’s yard using a trowel
3.     Adding the collected soil to the clean potting soil in the mixing bowl
4.     Very vigorously mixing the two soils
5.    Placing some of the resulting soil mixture into a sample jar
6.    And pouring the remaining soil mixture onto the ground.  Homeowners witnessing this   action called neighborhood representatives and asked them to come out to see for themselves.  The representatives that responded also witnessed these actions.

AMEC employees were seen repeating this process at properties throughout the neighborhood.  Their tampering renders Beazer East’s soil testing inadmissible.   We do not accept Beazer East’s fraudulent test results.  Our families need out of the dioxin, PAH, arsenic contaminated homes that are making us sick.

Willingness to accept counterfeit test results and Beazer East & EPA’s “raw deal” for Gainesville families is inhumane.  Decades of collusion and negligence at every level of government has allowed Gainesville to become a Toxic City.

Susan Fairforest

Beazer East & EPA: Keeping Gainesville Toxic with a Little Help from AMEC

19 Jun

The United States has recovered more than 19 million from AMEC in damages and penalties to settle litigation regarding fraud, false claims and kickbacks on Federal contracts in Sacramento, San Francisco, St. Louis and New Jersey.

At the World Trade Center, AMEC destroyed very important evidence during the clean-up.  This and the tampering witnessed by many residents in our neighborhood render AMEC’s soils test results false and unacceptable and Un-American.  Why are we entrusting the health and the lives of Gainesville’s children to AMEC?

The “Raw Deal” as acknowledged by this Commission earlier this year really gives us a toxic waste dump.  Dumping additional toxic residential soil on top of the already contaminated superfund site allows creosote, and other Koppers chemicals to continue to contaminate our drinking water, the Floridan Aquifer.

Removing one foot of polluted soil and entombing residents in toxic homes does nothing to protect families.  Officials already know that in some homes two to four feet and even twenty to forty feet of toxic soil have already been replaced with clean soil, only to find out later that the replacement soil is just as contaminated as the original soil.

According to Beazer East employee Mitch Brourman, this clean-up is “the best clean-up ever in the nation”.  No, EPA and Beazer East, this is NOT “the best clean-up ever” and it is NOT protective of Gainesville residents and our city.  This is nothing more than a criminal cover-up that is Keeping Gainesville Toxic.  We need and want out of our toxic homes!

Residents want to thank Todd Chase: he is the only City Commissioner that fully understood the implications of accepting this cover-up/raw deal.  We are grateful to him for voting against it.  This Raw Deal will forever stamp Gainesville with the stigma of Toxic City.

Ron Hodill

 

Sandra Watts Kennedy on AMEC’s Canadian Scandal

14 Jun

City of Gainesville Commission Meeting

June 6, 2013

AMEC engineers and scientists hired to do environmental assessment for the Raven Coal Corporation in Port Alberni Canada falsified data about the Alberni Airshed, not once but twice.

When AMEC published their final assessment of air pollutant concentrations in the Alberni Airshed, they claimed that DIOXIN levels in the airshed were well below the safe level standard for air quality set by the Canadian Government and the World Health Organization.  But AMEC was not aware that the Canadian Government monitors the Alberni Airshed for air pollutant concentrations.

The Canadian Government’s reports confirmed major DIOXIN air pollution in Port Alberni, contrary to AMEC’s air quality report. Investigation into AMEC’s actions in Port Alberni proved that AMEC never collected any air quality data in the Alberni Airshed- their report was composed of false test results invented to meet the needs of their client.

AMEC’s fraudulent report included a map illustrating the locations of monitoring towers they claimed to have used for several years to collect their Alberni Airshed data.  Upon investigation it was established that these monitoring stations never existed.

It is said that one can tell a lot about a person’s character by the company they keep.  AMEC is criminally fraudulent.  Why does Beazer East keep using them in Gainesville?  And why has Beazer East repeatedly lied to residents about rehiring AMEC under another name?  Why is EPA allowing use of AMEC-derived data when the lives of Gainesville’s children are at risk?

This farce is costing lives in Gainesville!  We reject AMEC’s sham test results and all aspects of the Beazer East/EPA coverup!  Our families want out of our dioxin-contaminated homes while we’re still alive!

Stephen Foster Resident Martha Miller On AMEC’s Fraudulent History

14 Jun

City of Gainesville Commission Meeting

June 6, 2013

 

AMEC (Beazer East’s environmental consultant for Gainesville’s Koppers Superfund Site) is a huge British-owned corporation like BP that is notoriously corrupt and has faced indictments from countries all over the world.  For example: 

1.   In 2008 Great Britain’s Serious Fraud Office fined AMEC five million pounds for falsifying records and other related ethics violations.  

2.   In South Africa, AMEC was named in a bribery/kickback scandal involving contracts on the Lesotho Dam Project.

3.   AMEC carried out the Environmental Impact Assessment for the proposed Chalillo Dam in Belize, and has been accused of burying the scientific analysis of the dam’s impact on wildlife that concluded the project would cause significant and irreversible loss of biological diversity. 

Geologists characterize AMEC’s Environmental Impact Assessment as “gravely flawed and so filled with errors so as to render it useless as a document for engineers to use in the design and the construction of the proposed dam.”  They go on to state “The mistakes made by AMEC in the geological mapping of the Chalillo site would get a failing mark in an introductory geology class”.  

4.   Likewise, University of Florida scientists found AMEC’s assumptions and models regarding health risks associated with Koppers Superfund Site to be so flawed that they recommended to Florida DEP that AMEC’s data should not be used at all.  

Given AMEC’s worldwide reputation for unethical conduct and unreliable work, continuing to use their falsified data to drive our remedial action is a major mistake that will forever impact the reputation of our city.  More importantly, Gainesville families will continue to sicken and die in toxic homes.  We want out of this toxic city.  We don’t want to die in beautiful but toxic homes- We reject this RAW DEAL!