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Friday, November 30, 2012

Train Carrying Deadly PVC Crashes In NJ Sickens Workers / Residents

A train carrying deadly Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) crashed in NJ this morning when a bridge it was traveling on collapsed. The train containing highly toxic cargo crashed while crossing a creek near the Delaware River. 

It has been reported that at least 71 people are being treated for respiratory distress and residents have been ordered to remain indoors. The train remains dangling from the collapsed bridge and and chemicals continue to leak into the creek.

Most vinyl chloride is used to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic and vinyl products. Acute (short-term) exposure to high levels of vinyl chloride in air has resulted in central nervous system effects (CNS), such as dizziness, drowsiness, and headaches in humans. Chronic (long-term) exposure to vinyl chloride through inhalation and oral exposure in humans has resulted in liver damage. Cancer is a major concern from exposure to vinyl chloride via inhalation, as vinyl chloride exposure has been shown to increase the risk of a rare form of liver cancer in humans. EPA has classified vinyl chloride as a Group A, human carcinogen.

Acute Effects: Acute exposure of humans to high levels of vinyl chloride via inhalation in humans has resulted in effects on the CNS, such as dizziness, drowsiness, headaches, and giddiness. Vinyl chloride is reported to be slightly irritating to the eyes and respiratory tract in humans. Acute exposure to extremely high levels of vinyl chloride has caused loss of consciousness, lung and kidney irritation, and inhibition of blood clotting in humans and cardiac arrhythmias in animals. Tests involving acute exposure of mice have shown vinyl chloride to have high acute toxicity from inhalation exposure.

Chronic Effects(Noncancer): Liver damage may result in humans from chronic exposure to vinyl chloride, through both inhalation and oral exposure. A small percentage of individuals occupationally exposed to high levels of vinyl chloride in air have developed a set of symptoms termed “vinyl chloride disease,” which is characterized by Raynaud’s phenomenon (fingers blanch and numbness and discomfort are experienced upon exposure to the cold), changes in the bones at the end of the fingers, joint and muscle pain, and scleroderma-like skin changes (thickening of the skin, decreased elasticity, and slight edema). CNS effects (including dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, headache, visual and/or hearing disturbances, memory loss, and sleep disturbances) as well as peripheral nervous system symptoms (peripheral neuropathy, tingling, numbness, weakness, and pain in fingers) have also been reported in workers exposed to vinyl chloride. Animal studies have reported effects on the liver, kidney, and CNS from chronic exposure to vinyl chloride. EPA has established a Reference Concentration (RfC) of 0.1 milligrams per cubic meter, and a Reference Dose (RfD) of 0.003 milligrams per kilogram per day for vinyl chloride. Please see IRIS for current information.

Reproductive/Developmental Effects: Several case reports suggest that male sexual performance may be affected by vinyl chloride. However, these studies are limited by lack of quantitative exposure information and possible co-occurring exposure to other chemicals. Several epidemiological studies have reported an association between vinyl chloride exposure in pregnant women and an increased incidence of birth defects, while other studies have not reported similar findings. Epidemiological studies have suggested an association between men occupationally exposed to vinyl chloride and miscarriages in their wives’ pregnancies although other studies have not supported these findings. Testicular damage and decreased male fertility have been reported in rats exposed to low levels for up to 12 months. Animal studies have reported decreased fetal weight and birth defects at levels that are also toxic to maternal animals in the offspring of rats exposed to vinyl chloride through inhalation.

Cancer Risk: Inhaled vinyl chloride has been shown to increase the risk of a rare form of liver cancer (angiosarcoma of the liver) in humans. Animal studies have shown that vinyl chloride, via inhalation, increases the incidence of angiosarcoma of the liver and cancer of the liver. Several rat studies show a pronounced early-life susceptibility to the carcinogenic effect of vinyl chloride, i.e., early exposures are associated with higher liver cancer incidence than similar or much longer exposures that occur after maturity. EPA has classified vinyl chloride as a Group A, human carcinogen. EPA uses mathematical models, based on animal studies, to estimate the probability of a person developing cancer from breathing air containing a specified concentration of a chemical.

EPA has calculated an inhalation unit risk estimate of 8.8 × 10-6 (µg/m3)-1 for lifetime exposure to vinyl chloride.

Jon L.Gelman of Wayne NJ, helping vinyl chloride victims and their families for over 4 decades, is the author NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson).  

Read more about "vinyl chloride"

Jan 29, 2010
The 5 substances that TSCA mandates regulations for are all known carcinogens: Asbestos, Hexavalent Chromium, Vinyl Chloride, Trichloethylene, Methyene Chloride and Dicloromethene. Since 1976 chronic and terminal ...
Aug 11, 2007
This case involved exposure to poly vinyl chloride at a Pantasote, a Paterson NJ plant, causing disease to former workers which is characteristic of Raynaud's phenomenon ( fingers blanch and numbnessand discomfort are ...
Feb 20, 2008
Secondhand smoke contains hundreds of chemicals known to be toxic or carcinogenic (cancer-causing), including formaldehyde, benzene, vinyl chloride, arsenic, ammonia, and hydrogen cyanide. Secondhand smoke has ...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mercury to be Removed by US EPA From Pompton River in NJ

The US EPA has announce that mercury, a hazardous substance, that was dischardged by EI DuPont in the Pompton River in NJ will be removed. For decades it has been known that mercury exposure causes illness and injury to workers.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced its plan to remove mercury contamination from the sediment of the Acid Brook Delta of Pompton Lake in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey to levels that meet stringent standards to protect people’s health and the environment. The plan will go into effect as a modification of a permit, which legally requires the E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, Inc. to fund and perform the work. Under the permit modification, the EPA will require DuPont to dredge at least 100,000 cubic yards of mercury contaminated sediment from the bottom of a 40-acre area of Pompton Lake and remove at least 7,800 cubic yards of contaminated soil from a shoreline area of the lake affected by DuPont’s past discharges. All of the sediment and soil will be sent to a licensed disposal facility.

Mercury in the sediment and soil can build up in the tissue of fish and other wildlife and pose a threat to people who eat them. Exposure to mercury can damage people’s nervous systems and harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs and immune systems.

“The removal of mercury-contaminated sediment from Pompton Lake is a major step toward the recovery of the lake and the protection of people’s health,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “The expanded dredging and other revisions in the final cleanup plan reflect the EPA’s commitment to protecting public health and improving environmental quality in Pompton Lakes.”

In November 2011, the EPA proposed a preliminary permit modification to remove contaminated sediment from the bottom of Pompton Lake and encouraged the public to comment on it. A public hearing on the proposed permit modification was held in January 2012. The final permit modification announced today incorporates changes that were made in response to comments from the public and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and additional technical information received from DuPont after the proposed permit modification was issued. A public meeting to discuss the permit modification for the Acid Brook Delta of Pompton Lakes will be held on January 15, 2013.

Under the final permit modification, the area of sediment that will be removed has been expanded by approximately 35% and sediment sampling is required to identify additional areas of the lake that may require the removal of mercury-contaminated sediment. In addition, DuPont is required to implement long-term monitoring of the effectiveness of the dredging, restore the soil between Lakeside Avenue and the edge of the lake, and perform an ecological risk assessment to determine whether additional action may be needed in the future. DuPont will be required to develop work plans for these requirements, which must be submitted to the EPA for approval. The cleanup will be financed and conducted by DuPont with EPA oversight.

The E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, Inc. operated the Pompton Lakes Works facility, located at 2000 Cannonball Road, from 1902 to April 1994. Products manufactured at the facility included explosive powder containing mercury and lead, detonating fuses, electric blasting caps, metal wires and aluminum and copper shells. The manufacturing operations and waste management practices contaminated soil, sediment and ground water both on and off-site. Lead and mercury from its operations were released into Acid Brook, which flows through the eastern part of the facility and discharges into the Acid Brook Delta of Pompton Lake. DuPont’s operations also contaminated the ground water with chlorinated volatile organic compounds, such as tetrachloroethylene, trichloroethylene, cis 1,2-dichloroethylene and vinyl chloride.

The cleanup of the Acid Brook Delta requires a modification of the permit under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The final permit modification will become effective on February 4, 2013 pending any requests for appeal submitted prior to that date.

Plans to clean up the remaining areas of contamination will be proposed through future permit modifications after ongoing investigations by DuPont have been completed and reviewed by the EPA and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Opportunities for public participation will continue to be provided through regular updates, public notices and public meetings.

The permit modification and relevant documents are available at the EPA’s project website at:

The public also can review documents related to the permit modification and cleanup at:
Pompton Lakes Public Library
333 Wanaque Avenue, Pompton Lakes, New Jersey
(973) 835-0482

Jon L.Gelman of Wayne NJ, helping injured workers and their families for over 4 decades, is the author NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson). 

Read more about "Mercury" and workers' compensation
Nov 26, 2012
Irving J. Selikoff Center for Occupational & Environmental Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine has released a guide to treatment for elemental mercury ((the pure form of the metal, when it is not combined with other ...
Mar 05, 2010
For example, nearly 70 years ago, on December 1, 1941, the U.S. Public Health Service ended mercury's use by hat manufacturers in 26 states through mutual agreements. The kinds of conditions that put hat-makers and ...
May 09, 2012
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will discuss plans to address high levels of contaminants, including PCBs, mercury and dioxin, which are present in Passaic River mud adjacent to Riverside Park in Lyndhurst, New ...
Aug 09, 2012
They concluded that there was enough evidence of a link to classify it as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” placing it in the same category as lead and mercury. The long-awaited Interphone study, a major inquiry into the ...