Monday, December 12, 2011

The Lehigh Valley's Poisoned Places


A reader has reacted to my post about local government transparency with a comment that should be shared with all of you. An NPR Investigative news piece details some sad stories concerning our exposure to nearly 200 dangerous chemicals that can cause cancer, birth defects and other problems. Here's the comment.

Speaking of Sunshine Law and transparency...

Bernie...you have a fair history of exposing wrong-doings in local gov't.

But, let's look at how local government has failed to cite, reign in - or even acknowledge - some of the flagrant violations of EPA standards that are going on in our backyards.

Center for Public Integrity, together with NPR, just released a report/map of "Poisoned Places" across the country.

Take a gander at our local area (you might want to look closely at a few in Nazareth):

http://www.npr.org/news/graphics/2011/10/toxic-air/#11.00/40.7098/-75.2065

Some of them have been emitting toxins unchecked...and unregulated...since at least 2001. Which, of course, is not only making its way into our lungs, but into the streams and ground water as well.

(Gee... groundwater issues in rural neighborhoods... Wells, anyone?)

We're talking emissions of LEAD, MERCURY compounds, TOLUENE!, Phthalates, and DIISOCYANATES.

Lovely.

The actual EPA emission reports are public information...and can be viewed by clicking on the dot over the company.

How long do these businesses expect to silently get away with this?

Very SMOOTH.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Let the free market handle this.

Zorn the Great said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lower Mack said...

looking at this in detail makes me wonder if there are any big companies that don't make this list. Everyone is on here. typical NPR objectivity

Anonymous said...

American's life expectancy continues to increase as it has, dramatically, since the country's inception.

Must be all the toxins and poor health care.

Anonymous said...

Americans have a right to know what is being released into the air and water around their neighborhoods. I am sure this is not an all-inclusive list.

Worth noting: Brad Osborne is the plant manager at GEO Specialty Chemicals, a property identified at 2409 N Cedar Crest Blvd. This business appears to be a high-level concern. It should be of more interest since it is about 1 mile from Parkland School, close to Kratzer Elementary School and is located along a water way that passes through Wehrs Dam (where kids play sports and in parks).

This thing lists a ton of big companies that don't seem to be living up to their end of the corporate citizenship bargain. They want rights, but refuse to fulfill the responsibilities of citizenship.

Dave said...

What about the violence? Lehigh students beaten by thugs in S. Bethlehem. Where is Johnny Casino when you need him?

Anonymous said...

Heavy metals make you stronger.

Anonymous said...

I'll worry about polution after the gunfire stops.

Allentown Resident

Zorn the Great said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Zorn, he is the plant manager. By your logic, the police chief only works for the city.

Anonymous said...

No worries. With the EPA and NPR on the case, all this stuff will be in China within 10 years.

Then we'll all be working at Harbor Freight and Big Lots selling chinese goods to each other. I'm sure there will still be enough to skim off in taxes to keep funding the EPA and NPR though.

Zorn the Great said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

zorn, you appear void of reasoned response. zorn the lesser is your new name. I even refuse to capitalize zorn.

Zorn the Great said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

zorn spelled backwards is asshole.

--
--
made you look, asshole.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I am deleting comments posted by "Zorn the great." I am tired of his negativism, his constant insults to everyone, his poor spelling and poor grammar.

Anonymous said...

Well, with the exception of 10:50am (anon; well-reasoned response), I sadly seemed to have been on target, re: the Knucklehead Brigade.


The map represents 'solely' those emitting volatile toxins into the air. Translation? Yes, there are multiple other businesses, sites that are releasing other lethal elements into lakes, streams, sewer systems, etc.

But, don't let that worry you. Clearly, it appears heavy metals have already worked their magic on (LV) deductive reasoning here.

Anonymous said...

We need less regulation! That's what your Republican party says, right BO?

Anonymous said...

"Well, with the exception of 10:50am (anon; well-reasoned response), I sadly seemed to have been on target, re: the Knucklehead Brigade."

Translation:

"Yer either wit me or agin me!"

I too judge other people's comments based on whether they agree with me or not, but then I'm just part of the knuclehead brigade.

What's your excues? Moral superiority?

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that no matter what is posted here, the simple-mindedness that monopolizes the conversations steam rolls over the most straightforward facts.

This person posted a report that should concern EVERY ONE of us who lives in the Valley... or, for that matter, anywhere across the country where these violators continue to poison where we live.

How is it possible to turn that into a political discussion or a devisive argument?

LOOK AT THE MAP, DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH, TAKE A NICE DEEP BREATH, and - if you choose to NOT CARE what you're breathing, drinking or bathing in -- then just MOVE ON.

But, don't condemn those who choose to be informed and act on their right to know what's happening in their own back yard.

Grow up and join the debate team (and perhaps the spelling team:

knucklehead vs knuclehead; nitwits with poor spelling don't garner much reverence...there's just no EXCUES).


Your frustrations are painfully untapped and severely misappropriated.

(p.s. that means "put in da rong place" in knuclehead language.)

Anonymous said...

OK, I was concerned enough to actually click on a few of those dots. I see Kraft foods and Purina on there.

Run for the hills!

I see most of the "dots" are NOT out of compliance.

The biggest out of compliance "dot" is owned by Goldman Sachs. Want to make a political statement out of that?

I'm afraid those who take the time to actually exercise their rights AND show responsible due diligence will find that the facts don't match the rhetoric ("POISONED PLACES!") in the post.

It is possible to be a "concerned" knucklehead as well.

Anonymous said...

OK, if we're going to sample from the bottom up...I'll play along:

Nestle Purina (Allentown):

emissions: Nitrates

environmental issue: Jordan Creek


Nitrates:
http://www.nitrate.com/nitrate2.htm
"When Nitrate is taken in by eating food and drinking water, Nitrate is converted in the gut to nitrite, which then combines with hemoglobin to form methemoglobin, thus decreasing the ability of the blood to carry oxygen. ...consumption of high levels of nitrate may also cause other health problems, for example some cancers and teratogenic effects... "

-------
Rockwood Pigments (Easton):

manganese, ammonia

-------
Apollo Metals (14th St, Bethlehem):

copper, cyanide, lead, nickel, n-butyl alcohol, xylene, toluene.


=====

Essroc, Nazareth.

chromium, copper, lead, manganese, mercury, hydrochloric acid.



you're right. nothing wrong here.

we can all BREATHE easily.


If this post bothers you so much, just ignore it. That seems to have worked so far.

Anonymous said...

Are you seriously suggesting that the environment should have ZERO levels of nitrate?

Also, you will note that these are "emissions and transfers".

This is part of the game played by environmental activists, with enablement from the government. Pass a law requiring "reporting". Don't worry about what level is actually harmful, just make sure the number is "reported". Better yet, define transfers to bona fide disposal companies as "releases". Also, make sure the numbers are on an annual basis. "One ton" sounds so much more impressive that "six pounds a day", which is a fraction of what your local gas station releases.

Then count on the "concerned" knuckleheads who don't know a TLV from an RTV to throw their arms up in the air in panic and run screaming into the night.

We are seeing a replay in the recent news with "statistics" claiming that half of us are poor or "low income" and that 1 in 4 (or was in 1 in 3?) woman are abused by their spouses/boyfriends.

The obvious solution to all this? More government programs, of course!

Anonymous said...

Your rants are clearly omnipotent.

Your misplaced anger, scattershot.

Your perception clouded by generic rants about government "control" (p.s. EPA already exists, nothing new)

Ironically, your response to the alternative: potential for MORE CITIZEN CONTROL via awareness, inappropriately defensive.

And your knowledge of the cumulative effects of chemical, biologic, toxic emissions on the human body -- nonexistent.


Once again, if the sheer reporting of this bothers you... BREATHE DEEP... then, IGNORE IT.

IT SEEMS TO HAVE WORKED WELL SO FAR.


In lieu of your incessant adolescent rants, I think many just choose to IGNORE YOU.


Sadly, perhaps that's your problem.


(p.s. Toxic metal ingestion often results in impaired reasoning, inappropriate anger, impaired social skills. You may want to look into it.)