Foxes in the eco-hen­house

The Washington Post - - WASHINGTON FORUM -

Re­gard­ing the April 17 front-page ar­ti­cle “In ad­vice to Trump, in­dus­try tar­gets EPA”:

As a 9-year-old play­ing in ru­ral East Nas­sau, N.Y., I stum­bled on a glis­ten­ing pud­dle, and think­ing its bluish sheen pretty, prod­ded it with sticks. When told about this dis­cov­ery, my mother or­dered me to stay away from the area, which con­tained poi­sonous chem­i­cal waste. This area in East Nas­sau is now known as the Far­rel Prop­erty Su­per­fund site.

East Nas­sau is seven miles from the Dewey Lo­ef­fel Land­fill Su­per­fund site, where Gen­eral Elec­tric and SI Group dumped 46,000 tons of chem­i­cal waste from 1952 to 1970. For decades, lo­cal and state of­fi­cials tried to deal with the site. Fi­nally in 2012, the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency made a $10 mil­lion deal with GE and SI Group to clean up the site. The full ex­tent of con­tam­i­na­tion of the lo­cal aquifer, ground­wa­ter and res­i­den­tial wells is still be­ing as­sessed.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion plans to re­duce the EPA’s reg­u­la­tory power. With­out EPA reg­u­la­tions, how will cor­po­ra­tions be made ac­count­able to clean up or pre­vent fu­ture chem­i­cal dump­ing grounds and kept from harm­ing com­mu­ni­ties by po­ten­tially caus­ing can­cers, lu­pus and other con­di­tions re­sult­ing from pol­lu­tants? Lori Barth Choudhury, Alexan­dria

I sup­pose it’s no sur­prise that the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has in­vited in­dus­try to weigh in on reg­u­la­tions. But even in th­ese cyn­i­cal days, it shocks me that the Pave­ment Coat­ings Tech­nol­ogy Coun­cil is still lob­by­ing to limit re­search on the en­vi­ron­men­tal ef­fects of coal tar when used as a park­ing lot sealant. I fol­lowed this is­sue for many years as a pub­lic af­fairs rep­re­sen­ta­tive for a trade as­so­ci­a­tion in the trans­porta­tion in­dus­try.

Coal tar has been known to be a hu­man car­cino­gen for more than 50 years. It is a Group 1 car­cino­gen, ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­na­tional Agency for Re­search on Can­cer.

Aside from the coal in­dus­try’s de­sire to sell this toxic byprod­uct, there is no con­ceiv­able ra­tio­nale for its use in park­ing lots or any­where else.

Coal tar is a threat to the en­vi­ron­ment and to the health of the work­ers who ap­ply it. If more re­search in this area is needed, I hope it goes for­ward. But to many, the ev­i­dence is al­ready clear enough to ban this un­safe prod­uct from the mar­ket. Margaret Cer­varich, Fred­er­ick

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