Neigh­bor­hood wor­ries about grave for lab mice

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Michael Casey

hanover, n.h.» Neigh­bors of Dart­mouth Col­lege prop­erty where for years the Ivy League school dis­posed of mice and other small an­i­mals used in sci­ence ex­per­i­ments say they fear pol­lu­tion from the site has con­tam­i­nated their ground­wa­ter and they worry the school hasn’t been com­pletely up front with them.

The site has con­tam­i­nated the well water of at least one fam­ily, that of Richard and Deb­bie Hig­gins, who blame a va­ri­ety of health prob­lems on it, in­clud­ing rashes, hair and skin loss and dizzi­ness. Even their dogs were not spared, they say, with one uri­nat­ing blood and another vom­it­ing. “We have been drink­ing the water for years, and we had no idea, ab­so­lutely no idea,” Deb­bie Hig­gins said.

Few nearby res­i­dents even knew the half-acre plot on the col­lege’s Ren­nie Farm was used from the 1960s un­til 1978 to dump car­casses from “tracer ex­per­i­ments,” in which sci­en­tists used ra­dioac­tive com­pounds to see how things moved through life sys­tems. A nearby site also con­tained re­mains of hu­man ca­dav­ers and still­born fe­tuses used in med­i­cal classes.

The ob­scu­rity of the fenced site changed in 2011, when Dart­mouth chose to clean it up, re­mov­ing 40 tons of car­casses and soil from scores of un­lined pits that were le­gal at the time they were dug. That led to the dis­cov­ery of haz­ardous waste and low-level ra­dioac­tive ma­te­ri­als and even­tu­ally ev­i­dence that at least one chem­i­cal used in the an­i­mal ex­per­i­ments, the sus­pected car­cino­gen 1,4diox­ane, had leaked into the ground­wa­ter.

It ini­tially was found at 50 times the state stan­dard of 3 parts per bil­lion on the site and more re­cently as high as 600 parts per bil­lion in the ground. The chem­i­cal has been linked to eye, nose and throat ir­ri­ta­tion and, in long-term ex­po­sure, to liver and kid­ney dam­age, ac­cord­ing to the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency.

The 1,4-diox­ane was even­tu­ally found to have mi­grated off the site and con­tam­i­nated the Hig­ginses’ well across the street.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.