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Is Union Carbide interested in
finding the truth?
If the protocol developed by a leading team of experts,
does not meet Union Carbide guidelines
they may not provide the trimer needed for testing
to see if the trimer is a human carcinogen.
One of the topics discussed at the last Citizens Action Committee on Childhood Cancer Cluster meeting held in Toms River, NJ was whether Union Carbide was going to provide the chemical (styrene acrylonitrile trimer) needed to determine whether the trimer is a human carcinogen.
If the experts and Union Carbide can not reach a consensus (the way Union Carbide wants the study to proceed) then Union Carbide Corporation may decide to conduct its own toxicity studies of a chemical compound found in three United Water Toms River wells.
Is Union Carbide Corporation trying to influence the outcome of toxicity testing by demanding the study be done their way?
The trimer is a chemical compound related to plastics production. The chemical manufacturing process that produced the trimer compound is no longer used and is very expensive to reproduce.
Union Carbide Corporation's participation in the study group is very important since they possess the refined trimer.
Very small amounts of the trimer have been found in wells 26, 28, and 29.
The following passages are from the "Summary of Retrospective Follow-up Epidemiology Study of Employees at the Toms River Plant"
Some of the results for subgroups of workers in particular areas of the plant were statistically significant, although most were based on small numbers of observed deaths.
There was a slight excess of deaths from bladder cancer attributable to exposure among former Cincinnati Chemical Works employees.
The increase in bladder cancer from I952 through 1995 was limited to hourly white males who worked in the North Dyes area of the Toms River plant.
Three of the four North Dyes workers who died of bladder cancer had previously worked at the Cincinnati Chemical Works. The Cincinnati plant manufactured and used benzidine, beta-naphthylamine and other aromatic amines, substances now known to cause lower urinary tract cancers.
The researchers concluded that the increase in deaths due to bladder cancer probably is attributable to exposures to aromatic amines at the Cincinnati Chemical Works.
The researchers found more lung cancer deaths than expected among white males who worked in Maintenance and in South Dyes.
Although these results were statistically significant and were based on relatively large numbers, the association with the workplace was weak. In both work areas, the increase in deaths due to lung cancer was higher for workers employed for shorter periods of time than for those who worked for longer periods of time and who presumably had a longer period of exposure to chemicals.
Smoking and other factors that might account for the lung cancer excesses were not examined. No other study has reported a link between chemicals used or produced in the South Dyes area and lung cancer. Thus, a causal relationship between employment at the Toms River plant and lung cancer is not established.
Central Nervous System Cancer
White men who had worked in production areas had a statistically significant increase in central nervous system cancer.
Most of the increase was attributable to work in the North Dyes area. All five central nervous system cancer deaths among North Dyes workers were confirmed as glial cell tumors,
the most common type of brain cancer in adults. No other study has reported increased central nervous system cancer among workers exposed to aromatic amines.
The current study did not assess exposures to specific chemicals, and it was not possible to identify any particular chemical as the potential agent causing cancer.
The researchers said that the excess deaths from central nervous system cancer may be due to an unidentified occupational exposure, to chance, or to unknown factors.
There were more than expected deaths from stomach cancer in North Dyes area workers.
The reason for this apparent excess is unknown.
Has the EPA completed enough research into the clean-up of the
Ciba-Geigy Superfund site?
Why has the EPA ruled out one of the more effective clean-up options?
We asked some experts their opinons for the clean-up of the Ciba Geigy Superfund site and what would be their preferred method of clean up.
One would think their preferred method would be one of the one's proposed by the EPA.
1. Their preferred option if the material could not safely be removed from the site, would be long term above ground storage, where monitoring could be visually inspected for leakage.
2. Second would be complete removal of all material from the site. This is second, due to the problems associated with transporting the material off site according to the EPA.
Even though the U.S. Air Force (BOMARC Missile site) can contract to safely remove more highly toxic (deadly) waste than that at the Ciba site.
3. Bioremediation, due to the limited potential for removal of hazardous waste and the long term (20-30 years) for clean-up results.
4. Capping / on-site landfilling, still potential for continued ground water contamination.
5. Composting, movement of hazardous waste is not favored due affecting ground water.
6. Thermal desorption /incineration, was last due to the spread of pollution (dioxins) in the air and the disposal of the nonconsumable material.
If only the EPA would work more closely with the citizens and citizen groups on the clean-up of the Ciba Geigy Superfund Site.
Are the clean-up options that are proposed by the EPA, going to protect the citizens of Ocean County and the surrounding regions? The experts we talked with suggested permanent above ground storage, if the material could not be moved off site for proper disposal.
What they mean by that is the above ground storage units would hold the hazardous waste in units elevated above ground so leakage could be detected and controlled easily. This method would eliminate continuous or future groundwater contamination that is presently going on. This method would also ensure total cleanup of the site, before it could be released back to its natural state.
The EPA has not yet proposed this option. Once the hazardous waste was deposited in these permanent holding units, the waste could then be treated by some of the options that the EPA has proposed, like bioremediation. The environment in the unit could be controlled and the bacteria could thrive to neutralize the hazardous waste.
An example of what an elevated hazardous waste
holding unit might look like
The next EPA Meeting date is Thursday, August 5, 1999 at 7:00PM, at the Holiday Inn, Rt 37, Toms River, NJ.
Also there is an EPA meeting August 18, 1999 at 7:00 pm at Dover Township Municipal Building.
For details of either meeting look under "How to Help".
The previous cover page can be found under "RESOURCES", Previous Month's Cover Pages.