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Cover-up: toxic waters 'will make New Orleans unsafe for a decade'
By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Correspondent
Published: 11 September 2005
Toxic chemicals in the New Orleans flood waters will make the city unsafe for full human habitation for a decade, a US government official has told The Independent on Sunday. And, he added, the Bush administration is covering up the danger.
In an exclusive interview, Hugh Kaufman, an expert on toxic waste and responses to environmental disasters at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said the way the polluted water was being pumped out was increasing the danger to health.
The pollution was far worse than had been admitted, he said, because his agency was failing to take enough samples and was refusing to make public the results of those it had analyzed. "Inept political hacks" running the clean-up will imperil the health of low-income migrant workers by getting them to do the work.
'World Trade Center Cough' Identified
A study in the Sept. 12 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine shows that 332 firefighters suffered from what became known as "World Trade Center cough." That's about 3% of the nearly 11,000 who responded to the disaster. World Trade Center cough was characterized as a prolonged, severe cough accompanied by shortness of breath...
Researcher David J. Prezant, MD, and colleagues reported that these firefighters were ill enough to take medical leave of at least four weeks. Less than half went back to work within seven months...
The vast majority of cough sufferers also developed heartburn or acid reflux disease...
The symptoms most frequently reported as developing or increasing after September 11th were nose or throat irritations, in 66 percent of the population; eye irritation or infection, in 50 percent; and coughing, in 47 percent. At the time of the survey, these symptoms were still a problem in approximately 82 percent...
...severe worries about whether their respiratory condition will get worse over time and whether this is a harbinger for additional related illnesses or unrelated illnesses, such as cancer...
Clinton Outraged by EPA's Suppression of Information Following World Trade Center Disaster
According to a report released by the Inspector General of the Environmental Protection Agency, despite evidence that deadly contaminants were contained in the WTC debris, including, asbestos, lead, glass fibers and concrete, the EPA did not accurately convey information about the potential health hazards these substances posed.
...Few people are better qualified to judge the extent of the problem. Mr Kaufman, who has been with the EPA since it was founded 35 years ago, helped to set up its hazardous waste programme. After serving as chief investigator to the EPA's ombudsman, he is now senior policy analyst in its Office of Solid Wastes and Emergency Response... He said the clean-up needed to be "the most massive public works exercise ever done", adding: "It will take 10 years to get everything up and running and safe."
Mr Kaufman claimed the Bush administration was playing down the need for a clean-up: the EPA has not been included in the core White House group tackling the crisis. "Its budget has been cut and inept political hacks have been put in key positions," Mr Kaufman said. "All the money for emergency response has gone to buy guns and cowboys - which don't do anything when a hurricane hits. We were less prepared for this than we would have been on 10 September 2001."
He said the water being pumped out of the city was not being tested for pollution and would damage Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi river, and endanger people using it downstream.
Negative Health Effects of Mold
Molds produce negative health effects through inflammation, allergy or infection. Allergic reactions, including fever, are common after mold exposure. Symptoms of those exposed to toxic molds which issue mycotoxins both individually or in combination are:
Immune system suppression
Respiratory problems including asthma and infections
Eye irritation with burning, watery or reddened eyes
Cough – dry and hacking
Nose or throat irritation or both
Skin rashes or irritation
Irritable bowel syndrome
Body aches and pain (Chronic Fatigue)
Food Intolerances and allergies
Nasal and sinus congestion
Originally posted by loam
I just can't believe the insanity. This is like watching a slow moving train wreck!
Originally posted by Hal9000
Why doesn't the EPA do something?
Originally posted by Kanza
have there been any predictions, calculations, speculations, etc. as to what effect this sludge would also impact when it reaches the The Gulf Stream and starts traveling around Florida and up the eastern seaboard?
Journalists face long FOIA delays
By Elisabeth Goodridge, Associated Press Writer, September 12, 2005
WASHINGTON --After badgering the Environmental Protection Agency for days to learn where dangerous chemicals were leaking after Hurricane Katrina, Mark Schleifstein still couldn't get a clear answer.
The top hurricane reporter of The Times-Picayune of New Orleans filed a request under the federal Freedom of Information Act, asking for any reports on spills, accidents or fires. More than a week later, he has received no response.
New Society of Environmental Journalists report: Katrina only latest example of feds withholding environmental data
Journalists are having an increasingly difficult time using the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to drag information out of the federal government to shed light on Superfund sites, chemical factories, mining accidents and a host of other topics important to citizens.
An SEJ report released today says the failure of the Environmental Protection Agency to divulge information about chemical releases in the wake of Hurricane Katrina is only the latest in a long line of problems journalists are encountering in using FOIA.
EPA and CDC Report High Levels of Bacterial Contamination in Preliminary Floodwater Samples from New Orleans
Floodwaters from multiple locations across the New Orleans area were sampled by EPA and analyzed for chemicals and bacteria. These initial results represent the beginning of extensive sampling efforts and do not represent the condition of all flood waters throughout the area. Preliminary information indicates that bacteria counts for E. coli in sampled areas greatly exceed EPA's recommended levels for contact. At these levels, human contact with water should be avoided.
Additional chemical sampling was performed for priority pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs), total metals, pesticides, herbicides, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Results from these analyses were compared to various ATSDR and EPA health levels. Lead concentrations in water exceeded drinking water action levels. These levels are a concern if a child ingests large amounts of flood water. For the additional chemicals tested, we have yet to detect contaminant levels that would pose human health risks. Due to the priority of the search and rescue mission, EPA testing has focused on neighborhoods and not in heavily industrialized areas.
Updated: EPA and CDC Report High Levels of Bacterial Contamination in Preliminary Floodwater Samples from New Orleans
Floodwaters from six locations across the New Orleans area were sampled by EPA and analyzed for chemicals and bacteria. These initial results represent the beginning of extensive sampling efforts and do not represent the condition of all flood waters throughout the area. Preliminary information indicates that bacteria counts for E. coli in sampled areas greatly exceed EPA’s recommended levels for contact. At these levels, human contact with water should be avoided as much as possible…
Chemical sampling was performed for over one hundred priority pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs), total metals, pesticides, herbicides, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)….
First Flood-Water Sampling Data Available Online
The Environmental Protection Agency in coordination with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality today posted data from New Orleans flood water samples collected from 12 locations in the September 3-5 time period. The data has been reviewed and validated through a quality assurance process to ensure scientific accuracy.
Initial biological results indicated the presence of high levels of E. coli in sampled areas. Based on that preliminary information, on September 7 EPA and CDC provided health guidance to avoid human contact with flood water when possible.
EPA in coordination with federal, state and local agencies will continue to release data as it becomes available. A map displaying sampling locations is available on the EPA website. To view the data, please visit: www.epa.gov...
Site 1: West End Blvd Veterans Highway (I-10 and I-61)
Site 2: Airline Highway and Causeway Blvd
Site 3: North Claiborne Ave exit ramp (Exit 236B) off I-10
Site 4: Off I-10 near Exit 239 Louisa St and Almonaster Ave
Site 5: Off I-10 near Exit 240B Chef Menteur Highway (US Hwy 90)
Site 6: Off I-610 near Exit 2A between Paris St and St. Bernards St
Love Canal-type landfill submerged in New Orleans floodwaters
Overlooked in many news reports about the unfolding storm disaster in the southern United States, especially in the City of New Orleans, in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, is a potentially dramatic pollution issue related to a toxic landfill that sits under the flood waters right in the city's downtown, according to map overlays of the flooded area. The situation could exacerbate the already dire threat to human health and the environment from the flood waters.
The Agriculture Street Landfill (ASL) is situated on a 95-acre site in New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana. The ASL is a federally registered Superfund site, and is on the National Priorities List of highly contaminated sites requiring cleanup and containment. A few years ago the site, which sits underneath and beside houses and a school, was fenced and covered with clean soil. However, three feet or more of flood waters could potentially cause the landfill's toxic contents – the result of decades of municipal and industrial waste dumping – to leach out.
Houses and buildings that were constructed in later years directly atop parts of the landfill. Residents report unusual cancers and health problems and have lobbied for years to be relocated away from the old contaminated site, which contains not only municipal garbage, but buried industrial wastes such as what would be produced by service stations and dry cleaners, manufacturers or burning. The site was routinely sprayed with DDT in the 1940s and 50s and, in 1962, 300,000 cubic yards of excess fill were removed from ASL because of ongoing subsurface fires. (The site was nicknamed "Dante's Inferno" because of the fires.)
The ASL can be thought of a sort of Love Canal for New Orleans -– and now it sits under water...
Disturbingly, the site is also very close to the Industrial Canal Levee, a section of which collapsed and allowed flood waters to pour in, almost directly in the direction of the ASL site.
Originally posted by soficrow
GREAT thread loam.
Keep posting your info, please. It's important.
Originally posted by Kanza
but have there been any predictions, calculations, speculations, etc. as to what effect this sludge would also impact when it reaches the The Gulf Stream and starts traveling around Florida and up the eastern seaboard?
CNN LIVE AT DAYBREAK: Transcript
COSTELLO: Yet another agency of the federal government is under fire for its handling of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. This time it's the EPA. The Society of Environmental Journalists accuses the EPA of being slow to release details about the environmental consequences of Katrina. Several members of the group have filed a Freedom of Information Act request.
PERRY BEEMAN, PRES., SOCIETY OF ENVIRONMENTAL JOURNALISTS: Good morning -- Carol.
COSTELLO: You know I'm looking at a report from the EPA right now that it released yesterday on samples it took in early September. Is this enough or not enough? BEEMAN: I'd say it most certainly is not enough. What has happened here is EPA took two weeks to release data from samples it took a week after this event happened. And so far that's all EPA has released.
And there are really two issues here, Carol, there's the sampling that EPA is doing, but also the request that many reporters have made for information on what chemical releases the companies have reported to EPA to the National Response Center as required by federal law. That information -- none of that information has been released as of last night.
COSTELLO: And when you talk about PCBs, you're talking about possible cancer causers and perhaps rescue workers need to know what they're working in to go on.
BEEMAN: That's true. And don't forget the people who never left New Orleans or the people who may want to come back. Some of these chemicals will stick around for a long time. And some of EPA's own people have suggested that it could be many days and years before those are gone.
And, also, we don't know that they're testing sediments. And when you're dumping this in the lake, and if those chemicals are lining the sediment, and the air starts turning it up, it could be, you know, swirling around for quite a while.
COSTELLO: Perry Beeman, I know you'll keep working on it. Perry Beeman from the Society of Environmental Journalists, thank you for joining DAYBREAK this morning.
Polluted Waters Drown Environmental Efforts
NEW ORLEANS — The high-stakes effort to bail out New Orleans is sending plumes of contaminated, brown, stinking water into Lake Pontchartrain, setting back years of effort to restore the environmentally sensitive home of Gulf Coast marine life.
After festering for two weeks in neighborhoods, commercial districts and industrial zones, the water is laden with bacteria, silt, petroleum products and possibly toxic substances.
City officials confirmed Tuesday that they were also releasing untreated sewage into the Mississippi River from one of two treatment plants operated by the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board...
Much of the nation's seafood catch spends some portion of its life in the marshes of Louisiana...