Tag Archives: property

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

Attic-indoor-air-pollution-family

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

 

Beazer East to Gainesville Residents: So Long Suckers

4 Sep

Unhappy homeowners in Superfund Neighborhoods across the US that received topsoil replacement report that they have had to spend thousands of dollars replacing the cheap materials hastily laid in their yards and repairing damage to their homes caused by corporate polluter contractors. EPA staff stopped returning homeowners phone calls and emails for assistance after topsoil replacement was finished.

“We’re not coming back.”
Last year, Beazer East executive Mitchell Brourman told Gainesville’s City Commission that BE will not remediate any remaining/recurring Koppers contamination after the current topsoil replacement is completed. According to Mr. Brourman they’re done even if soil replacement fails. Any problems, from recontamination to property damage caused by Beazer East contractors, will be left to homeowners to deal with at their own expense. Stephen Foster residents with replaced topsoil are already reporting that Beazer East contractors and EPA staff are not responding to them when contacted regarding problems caused by their “cleanup”.

 1DirtPileOnSiteClean soil for families’ lawns sits surrounded by toxic storm water on Koppers Superfund Site.

 

2TrailFromKoppersContaminated storm water runoff leaves visible trails from Koppers Superfund Site into Stephen Foster Neighborhood.

 

3WesternBorderTrail Looking into SFN from Koppers Superfund western border.

 

4AnotherSFNTrail Toxic runoff into another SFN street with lawns that have newly replaced topsoil.

 

5AnotherSFNTrail2 Another street where Koppers contaminated storm water washes down the avenue into newly cleaned yards.

 

6RemediatedYardFlooded Newly remediated yard flooded by toxic superfund water.

 

NEW AND ENLIGHTENING WEBSITE IS A MUST-SEE FOR GAINESVILLE RESIDENTS

6 Jul

Koppers Plain Talk explores the science of Gainesville’s Superfund Site, shedding light on the health effects of its toxins.

EPA’s 2009 chart documenting the health effects of Koppers contaminants of concern is particularly informative- and alarming. To view this document, go to koppersplaintalk.com, choose The Science tab and scroll to the bottom. Check out the rest of this educational site.

Consent Decree published: Last Chance to ask the Feds for a Real Cleanup

21 Feb

The Proposed Consent Decree/Final Cleanup Plan for the Cabot-Koppers Superfund Site was posted in the Federal Register on February 13, 2013. The posting of this notice opened a brief period for public comment on the Consent Decree.

This is the last opportunity to submit our comments directly to the US  District Court for the Northern District of Florida, who will make the final decision on whether to approve  the Consent Decree.  Comments must be submitted no later than March 14, 2013.

Comments should be addressed to the Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division, and should refer to “United States of America v. Beazer East, Inc. Civil Action No. 1:13cv29-SPM-GRJ; D.J. Ref. No. 90-11-2-622/1”. Comments may be submitted either by email or by mail.

Send your comments to:

The Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division

Refer to:

United States of America v. Beazer East, Inc. Civil Action No. 1:13cv29-SPM-GRJ; D.J. Ref. No. 90-11-2-622/1

Email:  pubcomment-ees.enrd@usdoj.gov

Mail:   Assistant Attorney General, US DOJ-ENRD

               PO Box 7611

Washington, DC 20044-7611

During the public comment period, the Consent Decree may be examined and downloaded at this Justice Department Website: http://www.usdoj.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.

Rally for a Real Cleanup of Koppers Superfund Contamination 02/27/13!

19 Feb

Demand a real cleanup to save the Floridan Aquifer, our drinking water!

Help end long-term toxic exposure in Gainesville!

US EPA will hold a public meeting to accept comments about the Consent Decree/Cleanup Plan for the Cabot/Koppers Superfund Site on Wednesday, February 27th from 6:00 to 8:00PM at the Stephen Foster Elementary School at 3800 NW 6th Street, Gainesville.  

Your voice and your presence are needed!

The Rally for a Real Cleanup of Koppers Superfund Contamination!

  • Wednesday, February 27th 5:00 to 6:00PM

  • In front of Stephen Foster Elementary School at NW 6th St & 39th Ave

This is our last chance to let the EPA hear your voice before an inadequate cleanup plan receives federal approval.  Our aquifer and city residents deserve a cleanup, not a coverup!  Signs will be available, or create and bring your own- the more the merrier- come to the Rally and stay to participate in the Meeting!

Final Cleanup Plan?

After spending 30 years and millions of dollars on research while residents continued to suffer from toxic exposure and Koppers chemicals continued to migrate deeper into the Floridan Aquifer, why are government officials now expediting the same cleanup plan that their predecessors rejected for sheer inadequacy twenty years ago, a plan that benefits nobody except the polluters?

This coverup plan calls for excavation of 6 to 12 inches of contaminated offsite soil for permanent storage on the Koppers Site, creating a massive toxic waste dump, and places a park with deed restricted businesses and residences directly on top of Super Mount Dioxin.  The scheme also features slurry walls that will not prevent downward migration of contamination into the aquifer and injections of heavy metal laden, unproven, ineffective Remox solution directly into the groundwater.  Residents living in contaminated offsite properties will be left in their toxic homes and subjected to deed restrictions.

Show US EPA officials that the Koppers Coverup is unacceptable- “moving a little dirt around” will not protect our drinking water or our children!

No Arsenic- No Dioxin- No PAHs!

Dig it up- Clean it up- and Take it away!