Order amid Chaos

March 2000

Citizens' Guide to the Ciba-Geigy
Public Health Assessment
Public Comment Draft: February 29 - April 28, 2000

What are the conclusions and recommendations of the report?

After assessing the weight of all available information, the NJDHSS and the ATSDR conclude that the Ciba-Geigy site was a public health hazard because of past exposures. This conclusion is based on the following:
  • the presence of a completed exposure pathway through the community water supply to dyes and other chemicals to a potentially large population;
  • the presence of a completed exposure pathway through the use of private wells to VOCs in the Cardinal Drive/Oak Ridge Parkway areas;
  • toxicological evaluations;
  • epidemiologic studies in other communities and in the workplace which suggest that exposure to several of these compounds may increase the risk of certain cancers and other adverse health outcomes; and,
  • the presence of an excess of childhood cancer in this community.

  • Current conditions indicate that, although groundwater remains contaminated, exposure pathways through drinking water have been interrupted. With the closure of operations at the plant, the air pathway is interrupted. Also, plant security measures have likely interrupted potential exposures of trespassers to on-site soils. Therefore, the site represents no apparent public health hazard under present conditions. Because on-site source areas remain contaminated, remediation of these areas is essential to prevent further contamination of groundwater and the potential for future human exposure pathways to site-related contaminants.

    This Public Health Assessment supports the need to consider the potential for site-related exposures in the on-going epidemiologic study of childhood cancer in this community. The ATSDR will also evaluate the health protectiveness of on-site remediation measures, once the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified a proposed method.

  • Click on this link to Citizens' Guide to the Ciba-Geigy Public Health Assessment, Public Comment Draft, or located under "Resources/Health Assessments" on this site.

    The proposed new well-water storage for use in Toms River should be in question!

    Map of Aquifers

    The United Water Company in Toms River is proposing to take water from the Cohansey aquifer and storing the water in another aquifer. One has to remember that the Cohansey aquifer has been polluted by the Reich Farm Superfund site and by other chemicals. Transfering potentially polluted water from the Cohansey aquifer and storing it in a clean aquifer makes no logical sense. This may save money in the short term, but will it pollute the other aquifer. Yes diluting or bending the two aquifers does reduce pollution from one aquifer, but at what cost? A phrase that is often kicked around especially by chemical companies is "dilution is the solution", but history has shown us that this does not always work.

    We would hope the EPA and our elected officials would use
    a better system than which is proposed.

    The EPA states that the feed back from the public is mixed on the cleanup options for the Ciba Geigy Superfund site in
    Toms River, NJ.

    Unless the public shows a strong response to the cleanup options presented, the EPA is going to recommend its own options, which could be incineration. At the last public meeting the EPA was asked to change the terminology on all their charts and reports from "thermal treatment" to "thermal desorption". So the deception continues as the term "thermal treatment" is used. Thermal treatment according to EPA documents means "thermal desorption" or "incineration" , which in turn can be used for the cleanup of the Ciba site. It has already been determined that a true thermal desorption unit, like the one at the Latex Superfund site would not be effective in treating the soil at the Ciba site. A thermal treatment unit with a secondary combustion chamber at high temperatures would be needed, in other words an incinerator.

    The BOMARC Missile Site Plutonium Remediation (Proposed Plan)

    Some of the concerns expressed lately in the newspapers with the proposed remediation of the Bomarc Missile site off Route 539 is the lack of notification to townships in which the removed material will be transported through on its way to Utah for disposal. The material leaves the site on Route 539 by truck and travels to Lakehurst, NJ. From there the radioactive hazardous waste is off loaded from the trucks and placed in railroad cars. A train then takes it to a storage site in Utah. Lakehurst, is located approximately 8-10 miles west of the Ciba-Geigy Superfund site. One of the concerns we have is the intermediate transfer of the material from one contractor to another. Once the contaminated soil and debris reach Lakehurst, this material my sit at the rail yard for several days in loaded rail cars, unprotected.
    Bomarc missile
    An example of a Bomarc missile similar to the one
    used at the route 539 Bomarc site in the 1960's

    Brief history of the Bomarc missile

    The Bomarc missile was a supersonic missile authorized by the Air Force in 1949, to be produced by the Boeing Corporation. They were the world's first long-range anti-aircraft missiles, placed in remote strategic places to guard the United States against an air attack. The missiles were housed on a constant combat-ready basis in individual launch shelters that could be fired around the country in 30 seconds. The Bomarc missile was 45 feet in length with a wing span of approximately 18 feet. Two models of the missile were produced, one with a range of 200 miles, and the other 400 miles. The missile carried a nuclear warhead. Boeing built 700 Bomarc missiles between 1957 and 1964. The Bomarc missile was retired from active service during the early 1970s.
    On June 7, 1960, an explosion and fire occurred in BOMARC Missile Shelter 204, route 539 in Plumsted Township, Ocean County, New Jersey.

  • Link to the background information on the site and the fire that occurred in 1960 that destroyed one of the missiles.

  • Link to the BOMARC Missile Site Plutonium Remediation (Proposed Plan), Cleanup Work Plan located under "Resources/BOMARC" on this site.

  • The next public meeting on the Citizen Action Committee on Childhood Cancer Cluster is April 10, 2000 at 7:00 pm.
    For further details look under "Meeting/Events"

  • The previous cover page can be found under "RESOURCES", Previous Month's Cover Pages.