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Toenails are pretty–seems that all they ever wanted was a marking

by on March 26, 2013

Toenails are pretty–seems that all they ever wanted was a marking

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/24/garfield-new-jersey-superfund-site-toenails_n_2944883.html

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2 Comments
  1. I think the most interesting thing about this article was how the EPA has reacted to the problem. Unlike Gasland, where the EPA seemed entirely uninvolved in investigations, they seem to be actively trying to discover how widespread the problem is. Also, they are providing informational sessions in four different language in an attempt to educate the residents about the problem. I didn’t see any of these positive steps being taken in Gasland. Its nice that they are actually trying to do something about the problem of contamination. It gives me hope that the EPA isn’t entirely useless. However, that being said, the article did say that the contamination occurred 30 years ago. This is a long time for these people to be exposed without knowing.

    I also saw elements of disaster distrust within the article. Although scientists have reported that there has been no increased rates in cancer, the people continually cite certain people dying as linked to the contamination. I bet that if we were to interview more of these people, the idea of disaster distrust would be very relevant among the community. However, there would be a large chunk of the community that was overall uninformed of the situation, so this disaster distrust may be confined to a select population. Thats just my two cents. Overall, pretty interesting article, just goes to show that contaminations are not isolated incidents.

    P.S. Is that a Foo Fighters lyric reference in the title of the first link?

  2. I found it interesting that Zelikoff said that the reason for testing the toenails was basically to “relieve” the fears of the 3,600 residents potentially affected by the chromium. She then goes on to say that it would be difficult to sell their homes in this economy. So what if the results from the toenail tests aren’t particularly comforting or reassuring? What’s going to happen then if they can’t leave but remain exposed and affected by the “well-established carcinogen?” Even though the contamination began 30 years ago, this seems to be in an early stage of discovering environmental justice issues. There definitely seems to be some degree of toxic uncertainty (of course not quite to the extent as we saw in Flammable). There are already different discourses coming from the officials and from the residents. Although the source and pollutant are known, the effects the pollution may have had/is having are uncertain and unknown, which has warranted the testing. The article clearly calls for more scientific testing, but then what happens to the data, how is it manipulated, and how is it represented to the residents? In Flammable, we saw officials underplaying the high lead levels found in the residents’ children. Could the same thing happen here?

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