Hazardous Chemicals Linked to Cancer Found at Illegal NJ Dump Site
The staggering seven-story dirt pile that had allegedly been operating as an illegal dump site for close to a decade has come under increased scrutiny from town officials, the DEP, and the public over the last several years. According to The Star Ledger, the NJ Attorney General recently authorized the DEP to test soil at the dump site for hazardous materials, and the results are concerning.
The DEP submitted the test results to the Attorney General on April 8, finding the soil to be contaminated with the pesticide chemical chlordane, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), all at levels exceeding the State standard.
About Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)Polychlorinated biphenyls are a group of organic chemicals that contain chlorine. Although these substances are no longer manufactured in the US, they can still be found in certain equipment, such as transformers.
Studies have found the substances to be probable human carcinogens, or cancer-causing chemicals. They can also cause birth defects when expecting mothers are exposed to PCBs.
PCBs are subject to 40 CFR 761 regulations as part of the Toxic Substances Control Act. This is because PCBs have been found to pose an "unreasonable risk to human health and the environment."
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Protecting Workers from PCBsCleanup is a crucial yet delicate step towards protecting the public from PCB exposure. However, it is also important to minimize worker exposure to PCBs during site remediations. That is why OSHA has set a permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 1,000 µg/m3 for PCB mixtures 42% chlorinated and 500 µg/m3 for compounds 54% chlorinated.
To minimize an employee’s exposure, engineering may be necessary, such as keeping the employee away from the PCBs, as well as the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Illegal Dumping Forum Scheduled for May 16An illegal dumping forum has been organized in response to the test results. Members of the public are welcome to attend to discuss the impact of illegal dumping in Sussex County and beyond.
The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 16 at 7 p.m. at The Appalachian Hotel in Vernon, NJ.
According to The NJ Herald, invitations have also gone out to Sussex County Freeholders, mayors, and governing-body members in all 24 county municipalities.
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