THIS WEEK: Public Meeting Regarding The Newtown Creek Superfund Site

Lil Swimmer

As some of might of you, gentle readers, might recall the New York State Department of Health recently released a Public Health Assessment about our very own Seine: Newtown Creek. Among the amazing revelations to be found in this document were:

  • Eating fish and crabs taken from Newtown Creek could harm people’s health, due to the chemical contaminants. *Women under 50 years old and children under 15 years old should not eat any fish or crabs from these waters. Others should follow the State Health Department advisories for eating fish and crabs taken from this and other waterways.
  • Swimming, scuba diving and wind surfing (with full body immersion) could harm people’s health, due to biological contaminants and physical hazards (underwater debris, commercial boat traffic).
  • Canoeing, kayaking, boat touring and catch-and-release fishing* are not expected to harm people’s health, if people use precautions (properly washing their hands) to avoid swallowing biological contaminants from surface water.

Long story made very short: a number of individuals dispute the veracity of these findings. Among them a lady named Laura. She writes:

Please see the NYSDOH notice I’ve attached, along with my comments to the agency.

For me, this is one of the most important meetings I will ever attend.

The New York State Department of Health is coming to Greenpoint and Long Island City to present their public health assessment related to the Newtown Creek Superfund process.

Their documents can be found at this link  http://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/investigations/newtown/index.htm And folks can still submit comments until May 4th. (Emphasis mine.— Ed. Note)

You’ll see that the agency is assessing the state of our community health (past and present ) in terms of direct contact with the creek, and in terms of the current way of assessing the effects of chemical exposure on our community. That’s not acceptable! Community residents have long complained about our poor environment and the effects it has had on our community. We all know that the chemicals pouring into the Newtown Creek, started on shore in our community. A sewage treatment facility, oil plumes, chemical plumes,  multiple waste transfer stations, a municipal incinerator, pvc manufacturers and other facilities lined the Newtown Creek. Most are still there.  Community members have become ill as a result.

My mother, father, and their dog all died of brain disease. A human case of CNS lymphoma, a human case of progressive supra nuclear palsy, and a canine case of encephalopathy, were not looked at in terms of a possible chemical exposure. There’s something wrong with that.

Now is your opportunity to speak up and demand environmental justice.  Please attend this important meeting.  Demand a real health study and changes in how the agency looks at chemical exposure in our community.

I’m asking family, friends, and community to come out and speak up.

Mark your calendars, show up and speak out, Greenpointers!

May, 24, 2012
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Polish National Home (AKA: The Warsaw)
261 Driggs Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11222

NOTE: You can also tender your sentiments via snail mail. Here’s how!

The public comment period has been extended. Comments on the draft Public Health Assessment are encouraged and should be sent to the Department of Health by June 15, 2012.

Please return your completed comment form to:

New York State Department of Health
Bureau of Environmental Exposure Investigation
Flanigan Square
547 River Street, Room 300
Troy, NY 12180-2216
Fax: (518) 402-7859

*No specifications were made regarding the ever prevalent Coney Island Whitefish as seen at the beginning of this post. But then again, I suppose it caught something and was released!

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