Contaminated Water: State of Emergency Declared in Newburgh, NY
Posted by feww on May 3, 2016
Global Pollution: The Lingering Legacy of PFOS
City officials in Newburgh [pop: 30,000] located about 100km north of New York City on the Hudson River, have declared a state of emergency after detecting elevated levels of Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, or perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), a chemical found in stain repellents.
In 2002, a study by the Environmental Directorate of the OECD classified PFOS as a “persistent, bioaccumulative” that is “toxic to mammalian species.”
PFOS, an exceptionally stable compound in the environment, was the key ingredient in Scotchgard, a fabric protector made by 3M, and numerous stain repellents.
The following are excerpts from DISCOVERY AND INVESTIGATION OF PFOS/PFCs CONTAMINATION FROM A PFC MANUFACTURING FACILITY IN MINNESOTA–ENVIRONMENTAL RELEASES AND EXPOSURE RISKS:
The 3M Company was the primary global producer of PFOS – related PFCs, producing millions of pounds annually at its plants in the United States and Europe. In 2000 3M produced 7.33 million pounds at its plants in the United States and Europe. 3M also produced PFOA at its Cottage Grove plant until the end of 2002 when it terminated production of PFOA and PFOS – related compounds. The production or use of other PFC – related compounds (“4 carbon PFCs”) continues today. In addition to residual or by-product releases during production, PFOS , PFOA and other PFXA are the ultimate breakdown products of a range of perfluorochemical. Significant amounts of wastes, residuals, and sludges were generated in production of PFCs and PFC containing products. An assessment from Minnesota Pollution Control Agency revealed that PFC wastes from the 3M production plant in Cottage Grove, Minnesota/USA had been deposited to a large extent in selected landfills and on the production plant property. http://www.dioxin20xx.org/pdfs/2010/10-1507.pdf
Highly soluble in water, PFCs are easily mobilized and released from municipal landfills, according to the study.
From a landfill perspective , this study illustrates that PFCs deposited and released at landfills and a former production site are highly mobile and subject the wider environment to PFC contamination . Substance flows from landfills to leachates to wastewater plants and river , from landfills to groundwater , from landfill gases to atmosphere, or from contaminated ground water sprayed to the atmosphere, reveals multiple pathways in how deposited PFCs at landfills may end up in surface waters and fish , or perhaps in soil s possibly posing contamination to vegetables. Human exposure and risk assessment s around such contaminated sites to include all exposure pathways including fish consumption, drinking water, soil ingestion, fruit and vegetable consumption , and possibly – with respect to any landfill gas emissions – intake via inhalation near those sites, should be performed to assure adequate safeguards . Minority groups , where applicable, and who may have greater vulnerability of exposure due to their lifestyle and cultural attributes , should be considered.
Currently, the most important emission sources of PFOS are fire-fighting foams, metal plating and the semiconductor industry.
Animal studies have shown PFOS to cause cancer, neonatal mortality, endocrine disruption, delays in physical development and stunted growth. [Sounds familiar?]
Highest levels of PFOS have been detected in animal liver, plasma, egg and muscle throughout multiple global hotspots including Michigan (the highest concentration of about 60,000 ppb in mink’s liver); Minnesota; Mississippi River; Hudson Bay, Canada; Midwestern US; northern Quebec, Canada; California; North Carolina; Denmark; Tokyo Bay [aka “Sewage Bay,”] Japan; Charleston, South Carolina; Baltic Sea and Mediterranean Sea, Italy.
Meanwhile, a blog reader in NY has brought the following to our attention:
“What if the AIM pipeline had ruptured near Indian Point?”
“Spectra Energy’s dangerous high pressure AIM gas pipeline is currently under construction only 105 feet from critical infrastructure at the Indian Point nuclear power plant. Nuclear and pipeline safety experts have repeatedly warned that a pipeline rupture adjacent to Indian Point could result in a nuclear catastrophe similar to or worse than the Fukushima nuclear disaster and threatens more than 20 million people who live within a 50 mile radius in the New York tri-state region. The pipeline poses a serious threat whether Indian Point is open or shut and decommissioned with 40 years of radioactive spent fuel remaining on site. A comprehensive, independent risk assessment was never conducted.”
“On Friday Spectra Energy’s Texas Eastern Pipeline ruptured in Salem, PA. It was the SECOND rupture of that pipeline in less than a year.
“What would have happened if it was the AIM pipeline that had ruptured near Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant?” https://sape2016.org/