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Why put our kids at risk?


Guest TBA Harrison
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Guest TBA Harrison

http://www.gsenet.org/library/11gsn/2005/g...20Toxic%20Sites

Highlights from article:

SCHOOL SITES POLLUTED; CLEANUP COSTS MAY ROCKET

New Jersey plans to build multimillion-dollar schools on or near what

are now contaminated properties, including one Superfund site with

radioactive soil, as part of its $6 billion program to improve school

buildings in the state's 31 poorest districts.

And a number of other cleanup sites in New Jersey and around the

country show that even the best remediation efforts can miss pollution

that can later expose people to health hazards. "They miss stuff," said William E. Wolfe, a state Department of Environmental Protection policy analyst from 2002 through 2004. "The remedies fail; the remedies are incomplete."

The schools construction program "needlessly increases the risk when

there are alternatives that haven't even been considered."

Jeffrey Tittel, executive director of the New Jersey chapter of the

Sierra Club, said the SCC is "playing Russian roulette with a loaded

gun."

Because many cleanups will leave contamination covered by soil caps or

underneath existing buildings, environmentalists say the state will

end up exposing children to toxins.

But DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell said such statements are

"fear mongering." All contamination on a property does not need to be

removed for it to be deemed safe, DEP Commissioner Campbell said.

"Unless the public is engaged and demanding, these things will get

built quietly, and we'll be paying with our children or paying with

schools that never get to open," said Amy Goldsmith, state director of

the New Jersey Environmental Federation.

One example of a failed cleanup is at Ringwood State Park in Bergen

and Passaic counties.

The DEP is now supervising the removal of contaminated sludge at the

park, even though the federal EPA declared a 500-acre area to be free

of pollutants in 1994. Since then, more pollutants were found.

Further, scientists have recently discovered new information about how

some contaminates, once believed capped and contained, can vaporize

and creep through pipes or cracks into nearby buildings, posing

unanticipated health risks to the occupants.

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