WASHINGTON – Three Democratic federal lawmakers are asking for a study to be conducted at Pompton Lakes, given all the contaminants that have been found there.
Sens. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ), along with Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-8) yesterday sent a letter to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Thomas Frieden asking the agency to investigate the health effects of chemical contamination in the area.
“Recent evidence raises serious questions about how chemical contaminants found in homes and ground water may be affecting the health of Pompton Lakes residents,” the letter states.
“Released earlier this summer, preliminary findings from a community health profile by New Jersey’s Department of Health and Senior Services show that Pompton Lakes residents are hospitalized more often because of tumorous cancer and visit the emergency room more often for epilepsy, migraines, dizziness, and other nervous system diseases than their neighbors in surrounding communities.”
The study would also include a scientifically controlled, full health study of the town’s residents.
In the mid-1980s, contaminants mixed with ground water and created a contaminated plume beneath nearly 450 homes, the lawmakers said. As recently as 2008, tests indicated the solvents, which they said are likely to be human carcinogens, were vaporizing up through the soil into basements of some of these homes.
A preliminary New Jersey Health and Senior Services Department analysis found that women in Pompton Lakes were hospitalized for cancerous tumors 38 percent more often than women throughout the rest of the state. Many residents in the city live in proximity to chemical waste and contaminated ground water, but the survey drew no conclusion as to the cause of this alarming uptick in hospitalization.
“Efforts to clean up environmental contaminants and mitigate their effects must remain our top priority, but, as we work toward a full cleanup, Pompton Lakes residents deserve to know more about how their health is being affected by chemicals in their soil and ground water,” the letter states.
“It’s time to examine all the health effects of this contamination in the most scientifically rigorous way possible.”
The full text of the letter is available here.