Target: United States Environmental Protection Agency
Goal: Remove lead slag and contaminated sediments from the Raritan Bayshore.
Three years ago, community members in Old Bridge, Sayreville, and surrounding New Jersey towns were informed by the EPA that their beaches are lined with thousands of tons of leaking lead slag.The beaches have since been closed and the residents have learned that, nearly three decades ago, the State of New Jersey allowed the lead slag to be used for beachfront stabilization projects. The US EPA has formulated a plan to completely restore the beach – but has met resistance from billionaire corporate polluters.
The State of New Jersey has allowed 40 years of exposure to cancer-causing lead before admitting to the scope of the problem. Since it was initially dumped, large amounts of lead, arsenic, antimony and copper have settled on the beaches and wetlands. Levels of lead found on the beach are in the 150,000-200,000 ppm range, exceeding what is considered to be safe by the state by 500 times.
According to Federal and State Health officials, lead exposure in people can lead to muscle weakness, brain damage, blood anemia, and severe stomach aches. Many sources of research has proven that there are no safe levels of lead. Low levels of exposure have been shown to cause learning disabilities, I.Q. deficiencies, reduced attention spans, and multiple other behavioral issues in children. Arsenic, copper, and antimony are all just as toxic.
In addition to dangers posed to humans, these chemicals have also negative effected wildlife. Large amounts of the metals in question have been found in tested animals. Not only is this detrimental to the wildlife, but it is moving its way up the food chain, resulting in far-reaching effects.
The EPA’s plan will solve the problem by removing and safely disposing of the toxic substances, but the initiative hasn’t been finalized. The the source of the polluter, National Lead, has publicly stated that it will fight any plan placing the clean-up responsibility on it. Meanwhile the State of New Jersey has been cooperative in efforts to restore the land to its original state.
Dear US Environmental Protection Agency,
The plan that was devised in order to clean up the Raritan Bay of it’s lead stag contaminants must be carried out despite protests by National Lead. Lead is not only a threat to human lives, but also to the surrounding wildlife and economy. National Lead needs to take responsibility for the damage that was caused and fund the restoration of the Raritan Bay.
Too much time has already passed with these harmful toxins in our waters. Allowing them to sit for any longer is an ignorance to the health and prosperity of the community of Raritan Bay. Lead, arsenic, antimony and copper are not only on the beach fronts but are spreading through the food chain to far-reaching areas. This is not an issue that can stay stagnant any longer. Everyday people are being exposed to these toxins, both knowingly and unknowingly. The longer we wait to take action, the more lives that are endangered.
Lead exposure is known to cause a long list of serious and detrimental health issues including muscle weakness, brain damage, blood anemia, and severe stomach aches. In children the side effects are far worse. Each day that passes with these toxic chemicals is a blatant disservice to the community and innocent people who are otherwise exposed. Not only does National Lead have a responsibility to correct their damage, but the State of New Jersey and the EPA has the duty to enforce that they do so in a timely and speedy fashion so that no more lives are affected.
Citizens of the State of New Jersey have elected their leaders to protect them in times like these when their voices are too small to be heard against a giant corporation such as National Lead. The EPA needs to follow through on this duty and force National Lead to carry out the restoration project that was formulated.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: GKtramrunner229 via Wikimedia Commons