Update as of October 21, 2014
STATE HEALTH SURVEY – NOT TRUSTED OR RECOMMENDED!!!
Members of our facebook group and Silentdisaster.org have worked with the State Dept of Health for many months trying to get the specific methods in which they will analysis the data to determine if people in the community are being exposed to chemicals from CSX, AGL, and SevenOut. Our group has been ‘warned’ by many scientists and others that the proposed methodology will NOT and CAN NOT adequately answer the community questions and concerns. Therefore, we are recommending that the community NOT participate in the survey. Please review our latest email to the state below…
We asked for specifics and The Survey Methodology is not specific at all. However, just from the generalities mentioned our group is not interested in participating or recommending participation by our community in the survey.
This survey is not designed to help the community and is actually a designed to disprove any correlation to the contamination in the area and the health problems.
In the generalities mentioned, it says questions 3-5b, 7, 9-12c, 18-18b, 20, 22, 23 will be used ‘to analyze to determine if residence are being exposed to toxic chemicals in the environment.’ But no real specifics on what constitutes a ‘positive’ outcome or HOW you will do this. But then you go further in the Outcomes section and say if you find something in the Analytic section, then the ‘completed environmental exposure pathways’ will be used to determine exposure. Which according to Assessment to Action (page 16 & 17), a COMPLETED EXPOSURE PATHWAY exists when ALL FIVE OF the exposure pathway elements (listed below) link the contamination source to a receptor population. However, you are not qualified at this point in time to determine if a COMPLETED EXPOSURE PATHWAYS exists. You, nor the State, nor CSX, nor AGL, nor the EPA have evaluated our area to determine ALL of the Media and Transport Mechanisms or the Points of Exposure. Thus, this means you will be ONLY using the ‘REPORTED’ or ‘DOCUMENTED’ RELEASES AND THE EXISTING DATA AVAILABLE REGARDLESS OF HOW FLAWED OR LIMITING IT MAYBE to determine if someone is being exposed. You will not consider that the wind blowing contamination from CSX or AGL could cause health problems. You will not take into consideration underground utility lines exposing people to AGL or CSX contamination. You will not include vapor intrusion into homes because CSX nor AGL nor the State’s have tested any of our homes or schools. You will not consider the possibility that the people on well water are being exposed UNLESS they are directly over a REPORTED CSX or AGL plume.
A ‘Completed Environmental Exposure Pathway’ would require that you KNOW all the following in their entirety:
1) Source of contamination: Source of contaminant release into the environment or the environmental media responsible for causing contamination at a point of exposure if the original source of contamination is unknown.
2) Environmental media and transport mechanisms: Environmental media include waste materials, groundwater, surface water, air, surface soil, sub-surface soil, sediment, and biota. Transport mechanisms serve to move contaminants from the source to points where human exposure can occur.
3) Point of exposure: A location of potential or actual human contact with a contaminated medium (e.g. residence, business, community member yard, playground, campground, waterway or water body, contaminated spring, hand-drawn well, or via food).
4) Route of exposure: Means by which the contaminate actually enters or contacts the body, such as ingestion, inhalation, dermal contact and dermal absorption.
5) Receptor population: Persons who are exposed or potentially exposed to the contaminants of concern at a point of exposure.
You could have chosen to look at POTENTIAL EXPOSURE PATHWAYS and made recommendations to test further and that would have been appropriate since many of the pathway elements are yet unknown.
During the summer months of 2014 members of Silent Disaster began working with the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) Chemical Hazards Program, Atlanta, Georgia office. Silent Disaster entered into good faith discussions with DPH regarding its proposal to conduct a Waycross community-wide survey in order to gather information for the purpose of developing a program to address our environmental concerns. Throughout the process Silent Disaster requested an opportunity to review and comment on the specifics of what DPH was planning on undertaking within our community. Meanwhile, Silent Disaster began working with DPH to develop questions that would help to identify and quantify chemical hazard information and related illnesses specific to Waycross. A good deal of time was invested by both Silent Disaster and DPH officials toward this survey objective.
Meanwhile, as part of our due diligence Silent Disaster consulted with well-established environmental groups from around the country to garnish their assistance and understanding of DPH proposals. In doing so we received numerous recommendations from experienced environmental organizations that alerted us to the possibility that DPH may have an agenda beyond simply helping the citizens of Waycross. These cautionary notes motivated Silent Disaster to dig deeper into the history of prior DPH activities in situations similar to those in Waycross. Regretfully, what has been uncovered is disappointing at best.
For example, on October 1, 2014 “The Telegraph” newspaper of Macon, Georgia published an article entitled: “Lawsuites over alleged Plant Scherer contamination dismissed,” which you can read in its entirety by clicking on the article title. Essentially, this article details that the Georgia DPH investigated allegations that toxic contaminants in Monroe County Georgia were causing illness. However, instead of coming into Monroe County and helping to identify the sources of contaminants DPH essentially dismissed the concerns of residents by issuing a report concluding that the community high levels of uranium were “naturally” occurring and not caused by industry sources. It is important to note that Monroe County residents had filed lawsuites against the owners of Plant Scherer which have subsequently dismissed without prejudice.
So this example, and others, beg the question of what exactly DPH has in mind for Waycross? Does DPH plan to come in and conduct a fast survey and then issue a report stating that no connections between industry toxic waste and Waycross health issues were found? Is the purpose to short-circuit any or all potential litigation issues in Waycross by having a state agency whitewash Waycross toxins? Many question remain open at this time and are in need of being addressed in advance of action by DPH. Georgia taxpayers in Waycross are dying and deserve to have their money spent on conducting the necessary tests to determine what toxins are present in the soil, air, and water of our community. We deserve to have an honest program run by professionals who are not just interested in maintaining the status quo but in improving life for the citizens of Waycross.
DPH Assessment to Action part 1>
is a tool that the Georgia Department of Public Health plans to employ as a tool to assist Waycross and other health communities that are affected by hazardous waste. This is part 1 of the guide.
DPH Assessment to Action part 2>