Iron Miners
It is currently Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:57 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]

Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 1 post ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Ringwood: More lead found in tests at Ford site
PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 12:07 pm 
Site Admin

Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2005 11:33 pm
Posts: 3088
Location: Above the Sterling Hill Mine
More lead found in tests at Ford site
e-mail print The Record

Friday, December 29, 2006


Ringwood residents had blood drawn to test for toxins in early December.
arrowRingwood residents had blood drawn to test for toxins in early December.

Special Report: Toxic Legacy

Small rodents, frogs and plants have been found contaminated with lead at Ford's toxic waste dump in Ringwood and in part of nearby Ringwood State Park, federal authorities announced Thursday.

That finding in expanded testing bolsters official assessments that the toxic metal and other contamination may also have been ingested by local Ramapough Mountain Indians and other residents who have traditionally lived off the land.

It's a conclusion long feared by the community, which has sued Ford and is being health-tested by its lawyers because of widespread unexplained illness in the decades since the massive dumping of paint sludge and other waste.

Environmental Protection Agency staff said they will not draw conclusions from the latest test results -- which include elevated levels of lead in Queen Anne's lace, a wild carrot eaten by wildlife -- until the laboratory report is analyzed by health agencies. Elevated levels of lead were also found in wildlife and plants in a section of Ringwood State Park two miles from the Ford landfill.

"We just got this data from the lab," said Mary Mears, an EPA spokeswoman. "We are consulting with other agencies to figure out what it means."

Neither federal nor state health officials were available for comment Thursday.

Testing found high levels of lead in mice and other small mammals and lesser amounts in frogs at the landfill off Peters Mine Road. Lead also was found in animals and plants off-site, but the EPA specifically noted that several on-site lead readings exceeded the highest of the off-site readings.

In prior testing, an elevated level of lead had been found in a squirrel at the landfill. Based on that, the state Department of Environmental Protection issued a hunting advisory for the area, which is near Ringwood Manor.

The DEP and EPA investigators plan to test deer in the area starting next week.

The findings will be added to the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry's report on the Ringwood Mines area. In May, the agency declared the site a public health hazard. It found residents' exposure to lead, arsenic and other contaminants may be linked to respiratory illnesses, neurological disorders, heart disease, rashes, diabetes and other problems in the community.

That report noted "residents and visitors may potentially have been exposed" to those toxic substances through "ingestion of biota (fish, game, plants)."

The EPA report found no evidence of PCBs or semi-volatile industrial chemicals in plants or animals. Ford's former landfill is part of a 900-acre Superfund site where the EPA is overseeing the fifth cleanup in 20 years.

The federal agency says it has no standard for safe ingestion of lead-contaminated meat. But Bruce Moholt, a former EPA toxicologist familiar with the Ringwood site, said Thursday that if the highest lead readings reported in wildlife were found instead in soil samples, "it would be off the charts."

"When you have contamination in the hundreds of parts per million, that's characteristic of areas with profound lead contamination," he added. "If it's in soil, we'd take it seriously. In a small mammal, I take it very seriously."

Richard Chapin, an environmental engineer who provides technical advice to the Upper Ringwood neighborhood association, said Thursday that those lead readings greatly exceed safety levels for lead in candy set by the federal Food and Drug Administration. Lead in the small animals was found as high as 292 parts per million. The FDA safety level for lead in candy consumed by children is 0.1 parts per million, Chapin noted.

Community leader Wayne Mann said his biggest concern is where lead might be found next.

"It's probably going to be the same for the deer, turkey, groundhogs, rabbits and, unfortunately, for us," he said. "I sleep less and less because I wait for more information."

Jay Van Dunk, an avid hunter and gardener, is also worried. He and other residents repeatedly asked officials to test wildlife to determine if local game might be contaminated. The EPA began testing small animals and frogs in October.

"If we hadn't asked for it [the testing], what would have happened?" said Van Dunk.

Ford spokesman Jon Holt said the company is closed this week and not reachable for comment.

"We need to see where the samples were taken, to see if we can line them up with our reconnaissance survey," he said. Those locations are important, he said, because paint sludge had been removed from some sites. In other areas, he said, car parts and lead batteries had previously been dumped and that could be an issue.

Mayor Joanne Atlas said her biggest concern is for the residents' health. She criticized the EPA for not testing until after gardening season was over and hunting season was under way.

Kevin Madonna, an attorneys representing residents in the multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Ford said the findings "validate what the community has been saying for years: "The cleanup has been inadequate."

Madonna is awaiting results from blood samples taken from residents recently tested for dioxin, a byproduct of PCBs linked to cancer and other serious illnesses. Dioxin has been found in attic dust in residents' homes.


* * *

Fast facts

# Tests of wildlife and plants by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found elevated levels of lead in frogs, mice, voles and shrews as well as in Queen Anne's lace, a wild carrot.

# The levels ranged as high as 292 parts per million in small animals and 48 parts per million in plants collected at Ford Motor Co.'s former landfill in Ringwood.

# Lead was also found at up to 120 parts per million in small animals and 12.6 parts per million in plants in another part of Ringwood State Park off Morris Road, two miles east of the landfill off Peters Mine Road.

# Lead was found in frogs at 4.59 parts per million at the landfill and at 6.71 parts per million off Morris Road.

# Even in small amounts, lead can harm the nervous system, kidneys and red blood cell production and can affect reproduction and development, federal health advisories warn.

* * *

What's next

A lawsuit by some 700 current and former residents of Upper Ringwood against Ford Motor Co. resumes Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Joel A. Pisano in Newark. He will hear arguments on Ford motions to dismiss parts of the lawsuit. It is one of the largest environmental litigations in New Jersey.

Reprinted with permission from The Record,

Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 1 post ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group