DRINKING WATER POLLUTED with other fluorinated substances in NY State
Donora was one of the worst air pollution disasters after WWII in the US. What is not well known is that fluorine was considered the main culprit at the time, but since then, documents have been "lost" and other chemicals were to blame, according to past BBC journalist, Christopher Bryson.
Excerpts from The Fluoride Deception
Forward by THEO COLBORN, author of Our Stolen Futures.
THE QUESTION OF whether fluoride is or is not an essential element is debatable. In other words, is the element, fluorine, required for normal growth and reproduction? On one hand there appears to be a narrow range of topical exposure in which it might prevent cavities.
But if exposure is too high, it causes serious health problems. And could an individual who is totally deprived of fluoride from conception through adulthood survive?
Definitive research to resolve these questions has never appeared in the public record or in peer-reviewed journals. It is important to keep this fact in mind as you read this book.
Chris Bryson informs us that fluorine is, indeed, an essential element in the production of the atom bomb, and there is good reason to believe that fluoridated drinking water and toothpaste— and the development of the atom bomb— are closely related.
This claim sounded pretty far-fetched to me, and consequently I was extremely skeptical about the connection when I started reading the book.
Bryson writes with the skill of a top-selling novelist, but it was not his convincing storytelling that made me finish the book. It was the haunting message that possibly here again was another therapeutic agent, fluoride, that had not been thoroughly studied before it was foisted on the public as a panacea to protect or improve health.
Bryson reveals that the safety of fluoride became a firmly established paradigm based on incomplete knowledge. The correct questions were never asked (or never answered when they were asked), thus giving birth to false or bottomless assumptions that fluoride was therapeutic and safe.
Certainly, the evidence Bryson unearthed in this book begs for immediate attention by those responsible for public health.
Bryson, Christopher. The Fluoride Deception (Kindle Locations 63-76). Seven Stories Press. Kindle Edition.
In 2015, members of the Hoosick Falls community contacted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with concerns and questions about whether they should drink, bathe in, or cook with their water, which has been found to contain perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).
PFOA is a man-made chemical that is toxic and persistent in the environment. It is used as a surface-active agent and in a variety of products, such as fire-fighting foams, coating additives and cleaning products.
On November 25, 2015, the EPA recommended that, based on the presence of PFOA above 400 ppt in the Village of Hoosick Falls public drinking water supply, people not drink the water from the Hoosick Falls public water supply or use it for cooking.
The New York State Department of Health is the lead for addressing PFOA contamination in the water supply.
The New York State Department of Health announced on March 30, 2016 that “repeated testing of the village of Hoosick Falls' municipal water system shows non detection of Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and is now safe for all uses including drinking and cooking.”
For the latest information about work to address the public water supply, visit https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/investigations/hoosick/.
In February 2016, the EPA collected soil samples from the Hoosick Falls Ballfields and Athletic Field. That sampling found levels of PFOA and related compounds ranging from not detectable to 0.021 parts per million (ppm). In May 2016, the EPA conducted additional soil sampling near the McCaffrey Street facility. This included sampling of some residential properties on Carey Avenue, as well as the swampy, wooded area southeast of the McCaffrey Street facility and the football field and picnic area at the end of Waterworks Road. This sampling found levels of PFOA and related compounds ranging from not detectable to 0.0277 ppm.
Based on an assessment of data collected to date, PFOA levels found in soil do not necessitate any additional sampling or cleanup work in any of the areas sampled at this time. The levels of PFOA and related compounds from the February and May 2016 sampling were well below a site-specific action level of 1 part per million (ppm) developed by EPA based on its updated lifetime drinking water health advisory for PFOA of- 70 parts per trillion (ppt).
In addition to the soil sampling discussed above, the EPA also conducted Hazard Ranking System (HRS) sampling in spring 2016 to determine if the McCaffrey Street site is eligible for inclusion on the federal Superfund National Priorities List. This HRS sampling effort included sampling of soil, groundwater and storm drains at the McCaffrey Street facility.
The HRS is a system EPA uses to score and evaluate potential threats to public health and the environment posed by uncontrolled releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants. Sites that score at or above the required threshold qualify for remedial action under the Superfund program and are proposed for listing on the EPA National Priorities List, a list of the most serious sites identified for long-term cleanup.
Based on the results of the HRS sampling, on September 9, 2016, the McCaffrey Street site was formally proposed for inclusion on the EPA’s National Priorities List. More information about the proposed Superfund listing, and the associated public comment period, which runs until November 8, 2016, is available in a news release:
Further information about Superfund and the Superfund cleanup process is available at https://www.epa.gov/superfund.
The EPA is issuing periodic community updates to keep the public informed of its continuing efforts. Public inquiries can be directed to Larisa Romanowski at Romanowski.
Larisa@epa.gov or 518-407-0400.
SEA WATER POLLUTION
DONORA AIR POLLUTION DISASTER 1948
I have felt the fog in my throat—
The misty hand of Death caress my face;
I have wrestled with a frightful foe
Who strangled me with wisps of gray fog-lace.
Now in the eyes since I have died.
The bleak, bare hills rise in stupid might
With scars of its slavery imbedded deep;
And the people still live— still live— in the poisonous night.
Attributed to area resident John P. Clark, whose mother-in-law, Mrs. Jeanne Kirkwood, aged seventy, died at Clark’s home at 2A M on Saturday, October 30, 1948.1
Horror visited the US Steel company-town of Donora on Halloween night, 1948, when a temperature inversion descended on the town. Fumes from US Steel's smelting plants blanketed the town for four days, and crept murderously into the citizens' homes. If the smog had lasted another evening "the casualty list would have been 1,000 instead of 20," said local doctor William Rongaus at the time. Later investigations by Rongaus and others indicated that one-third of the town's 14,000 residents were affected by the smog. Hundreds of residents were evacuated or hospitalized. A decade later, Donora's mortality rate remained significantly higher than neighboring areas.
The "Donora Death Fog", as it became known, spawned numerous angry lawsuits and the first calls for national legislation to protect the public from industrial air pollution.
A PHS report released in 1949 reported that "no single substance" was responsible for the Donora deaths and laid major blame for the tragedy on the temperature inversion. But according to industry consultant Philip Sadtler, in an interview taped shortly before his 1996 death, that report was a whitewash. "It was murder," said Sadtler about Donora. "The directors of US Steel should have gone to jail for killing people." Sadtler charged that the PHS report helped US Steel escape liability for the deaths and spared a host of fluoride- emitting industries the expense of having to control their toxic emissions. (A class-action lawsuit by Donora victims families was later settled out of court.)
In 1948, Sadtler was perhaps the nation's leading expert on fluorine pollution. He had gathered evidence for plaintiffs across the country, including an investigation of the Manhattan Project and the DuPont company's fluoride pollution of New Jersey farmland during World War II [see "Fluoride and the A-Bomb", 1997-98 EIJ].
For giant fluoride emitters such as US Steel and the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa), the cost of a national fluoride clean-up "would certainly have been in the billions," said Sadtler. So concealing the true cause of the Donora accident was vital. "It would have complicated things enormously for them if the public had been alerted to [the dangers of] fluoride."