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Posts Tagged ‘Trichloroethylene’

Chemical Vapors Entered Manufactured Homes, Tests Show

May 4th, 2017 Comments off
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Community Residents at the meeting in October. Credit: Times of San Diego.

In a follow up to a story the Daily Business News covered in November, residents of the Starlight Mobile Home Park and Greenfield Mobile Estates received confirmation that vapors from a dangerous chemical that runs underground in the city of El Cajon, California have seeped into people’s homes.

According to KPBS, new air testing shows that, contrary to what some residents were led to expect when they learned of the plume last October, the vapors were not only seeping in, but it may have been happening for decades.

The gas is trichloroethylene, or TCE, a chemical commonly used for cleaning and degreasing. TCE is strongly linked to kidney cancer,” said John Budroe, senior toxicologist with the California environmental health agency.

It may also cause liver cancer and malignant lymphoma. It is harmful to babies in utero and can lower men’s hormone levels, sex drive and sperm quality.”

Back in October of last year, state officials offered 19 households in the Starlight Mobile Home Park and Greenfield Mobile Home Estates air testing four days after a report that a plume ran beneath the communities, and 18 days after the Department of Toxic Substances Control issued a Proposition 65 hazard warning.

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Image of the toxic plume. Credit: Times of San Diego.

Specialists tested 18 of some 45 homes that sit atop the most potent part of the plume, and found that four of the homes required either immediate or accelerated response level action.

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Ron Cox. Credit: KPBS.

Nobody knows the effects of living over a house that has the minimum or acceptable amount of TCE seeping up into the air for 30 years,” said resident Ron Cox, who is suing the chemical company, Ametek, and the company currently operating at the site, Senior Operations, for loss of home value.

Cox’s mother, Arla JoDoell Cox, died at age 63 of kidney cancer. His brother, Adam Cox, is in hospice with a brain tumor.

They failed to let me or my family know this is happening and this could affect their health, why haven’t they fixed it, why didn’t they notify the public?” asked Cox.

Dr. Mary McDaniel, an environmental medicine physician consulting with Ametek, says that the reason the communities were not tested sooner is because years of testing at the school indicated levels there were safe.

But John Fiske, the attorney for Cox, disagrees with that story.

Ametek and its top executive ignored notices of violation and abatement from the water board. The water board tried for ten years to get Ametek to clean this up and they refused to do it,” said Fiske.

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Starlight Mobile Home Estates. Credit: Times of San Diego.

Engineering geologist Sean McClain says that the plume may actually originate from multiple locations on the former site.

The plume may originate from as many as seven places on the 17 acre former manufacturing site where chemical waste was thrown away in pits or sumps,” said McClain.

From there, the chemicals flow down through broken rock into the shallow groundwater, under the densely populated mobile home parks [sic], beneath Highway 67 and toward the Gillespie Field airport, where the plume loses steam 1.3 miles from its source.”

In addition to the legal action from Cox, three other residents from Greenfield Mobile Home Estates have also filed a lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court. Ametek responded with a list of 39 defenses.

The Daily Business News will continue to monitor this story and provide updates. ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

 

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RC Williams, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

MH Communities Threatened by Toxic Plume, Questions Remain

November 28th, 2016 Comments off
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Starlight Mobile Home Estates. Credit: Times of San Diego.

In El Cajon, California, residents of the Starlight and Greenfield Mobile Homes Estates gathered at a local elementary school for a presentation about an underground trichloroethylene chemical plume that they believe causes a threat to their communities and the school.

Trichloroethylene is considered the most serious and concentrated of several industrial solvents that for years were flushed into a shallow hole in the ground at a nearby aerospace manufacturing firm.

Just minutes into the presentation, questions from the audience came.

Have you tested it?” asked one resident.

How are we going to sell our homes?” asked another resident.

According to the Times of San Diego, Sean McClain, a state engineering geologist, told the crowd that in the 26 years the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board has been addressing the contamination, it has never believed it posed a threat to the factory-built home owners who live adjacent to the school.

The reason? Because the plume runs deeper under the homes than it does under the school, and what is measured in the school classrooms is considered acceptable.

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Community Residents at the meeting. Credit: Times of San Diego.

We know contaminants in that ground water are volatilizing off the water into the soil column, and in some cases are entering the school buildings,” said Patrick Kerzic, a toxicologist with the Department of Toxic Substances Control. “Our risk evaluations consistently show that we feel the school is safe for use and safe for occupancy.

The story changed when the state sunk wells as close as they could get to the homes without entering them.

10 of the 25 wells failed a screening test, meaning that there was enough trichloroethylene in the soil to trigger an investigation.

That led officials to extend the first offer of indoor air testing to 19 owners in the manufactured home communities.

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Image and path of the toxic plume. Credit: Times of San Diego.

Shockingly for some residents, this was the first time that they learned of about the contamination, even though numerous monitoring and extraction wells are operating just feet from their homes at the school.

I’m concerned that I was not offered testing, even though I live in one of the parks,” said Noemi Harris, a mother of three.

Can we volunteer to have our homes tested?” asked Joel Menezes, who was in a similar position.

The answer, apparently, is not yet. And not everyone agrees that the vapors in the classrooms are safe.

Some who attended Magnolia Elementary School dating back to the 1960s, as well as teachers who taught there, are suing over alleged exposure. They hope to win ongoing health monitoring. ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.