Communities with hazardous waste facilities also have exceptionally
high numbers of black and hispanic citizens, according to a study
released recently by the United Church of Christ. This represents "an
insidious form of institutional racism. It is environmental racism,"
said a spokesperson for the church.
Minority populations average 12% in communities without hazardous waste
(treatment, storage, or disposal--TSD) facilities, but communities with
one TSD facility average 24% blacks and hispanics. Communities with two
or more TSD facilities average 38% blacks and hispanics, the study
Three out of every five black and hispanic Americans live in
communities that have uncontrolled hazardous waste sites. Roughly half
of all Asian/Pacific Islanders and half of all American Indians live in
communities that have uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.
Copies of the report, which was done under contract by Public Data
Access, Inc., of New York City, are available for $15.00 plus $2.50
shipping, from: United Church of Christ, 105 Madison Avenue, NY, NY
10016; phone (212) 683-5656.
CHILD DEVELOPMENT RETARDED BY EARLY EXPOSURE TO TOXIC LEAD, EVEN AMONG
Exposure to very small amounts of lead before birth retards a child's
mental and physical development during the first two years of life, and
perhaps longer, researchers reported April 23 in the NEW ENGLAND
JOURNAL OF MEDICINE. Even exposure to amounts of lead considered safe
for children caused lower scores on tests of problem-solving,
perception, memory, learning and coordination.
The Boston researchers studied 249 infants over a two-year period,
dividing them into three groups according to their exposure to the
metallic poison, lead. Lead exposure was judged from blood samples
taken from umbilical cords at birth. The lowest group had less than 3
micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood (ug/dl); the next group had 3
to 10 ug/dl; and the high exposure group had 10 to 25 ug/dl. Twenty-
five ug/dl is the threshold above which lead is considered unacceptably
high in a child, according to criteria set by the federal Centers for
Disease Control in Atlanta, GA.
Children in the low-lead exposure group consistently performed better
on a series of tests aimed at measuring their overall mental and
physical development, compared to the high lead exposure group.
All 249 of the children came from socially advantaged families. Thus,
researchers wonder if their results don't underestimate the problem
because, in an impoverished environment, the effects of lead might be
amplified by factors such as poor nutrition.
The researchers point out that other studies of umbilical cord blood
reveal that about 25% of all urban newborns have more than 10 ug/dl
lead in their blood.
SOLVENT SPILL KILLS ONE, HARMS FOUR; ONE THOUSAND EVACUATED
A spill of solvents at a warehouse in Utah April 14 killed the plant
manager, injured four emergency response personnel, and caused the
evacuation of about 1000 people in a neighboring industrial park. About
900 gallons of trichloroethylene (TCE) and 300 gallons of xylene
spilled from a storage tank in a warehouse when a ladder slipped and
broke off a 3/4" valve; the plant manager was overcome by fumes and
never recovered. The warehouse is owned by the Hodson Chemical
Construction Corp. of North Salt Lake City.
RAIL MISHAP SPILLS 200 GALLONS; 16,000 PEOPLE EVACUATED TWICE
Sixteen thousand residents of Pittsburgh had to be evacuated from their
homes April 11 when 200 gallons of phosphorus oxychloride spilled
during a Conrail freight train derailment. The tank car that leaked the
200 gallons held 36,000 gallons of the highly corrosive Class B poison.
The chemical belonged to Monsanto Corp. of St. Louis, MO and was en
route to Monsanto's plant in Bridgeport, NJ; the spill occurred through
the safety valve on the derailed car. Emergency response personnel
plugged the leaking valve with a tennis ball. The threat that the
phosphorus oxychloride might react with water to produce a cloud of
hydrochloric acid led to the evacuation. Local residents were evacuated
a second time within 24 hours while cranes righted the derailed car and
the dangerous chemical was pumped into waiting tank trucks.
HOTLINE: CHEMICAL EMERGENCIES
Anyone wishing to report a chemical emergency can phone the National
Response Center (800) 424-8802, day or night. In DC, the number is
(202) 426-2675, or (202) 267-2675. The person who answers those phones
will help you contact state and local officials, or other agencies that
may need to respond to the emergency. The Response Center is operated
by the U.S. Coast Guard.
EPA UPDATES LIST OF BUSINESSES IT REFUSES TO DO BUSINESS WITH
The EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) keeps a master list of
all parties who have been debarred, suspended, or otherwise excluded
from participating in EPA-assisted programs. The listed is updated
weekly and is available in all 10 regional EPA offices. For further
information, see the FEDERAL REGISTER, Apr. 7, 1987, pgs. 11116-11118,
or contact Frank Dawkins, EPA Compliance Staff, Grants Administration
Division, Mail Code PM216F, 401 M St., SW, Wash., DC 20460; (202) 475-
Descriptor terms: racism; studies; hazardous waste; united church of
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churches; statistics; ut; spills; trichloroethylene; death; solvents;
xylene; storage tanks; hodson chemical construction; evacuations;
spills; evacuations; monsanto; conrail; poisons; pa; pittsburgh, pa;
phosphorus oxychloride; monsanto; trains; accidents; emergencies;
chemicals; hotlines; coast guard; national emergency response center;
emergency response; spills; leaks; fires; chemical emergencies; epa;
information services; debarred businesses; blacklist; disbarred
businesses; enforcement; compliance; compliance; developmental
disorders; lead; children; new england journal of medicine; studies;
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