Lead and Arsenic Risk Information Project
TRI WHAT IS THE TOXIC RELEASE INVENTORY
In 1984 a deadly cloud of methyl isocyanate killed 2,500 people in Bhopal, India. Shortly thereafter there was a serious chemical release in West Virginia. Following these events, public interest and environmental organizations around the country accelerated demands for information on toxic chemicals being released"beyond the fence line"--outside of the facility. Consequently, Congress enacted the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA).
EPCRA's primary purpose is to inform communities and citizens of chemical hazards in their areas. Through EPCRA, Congress mandated that information on toxic chemical releases to the environment be collected into a database called the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI). By using TRI, communities and citizens have more information and power to hold companies accountable and make informed decisions about avoiding the chemical hazards in their own neighborhoods.
Although there are hundreds of thousands of chemicals manufactured, processed, or used by industry, only about 600 chemicals are tracked by TRI. The releases to the air, land and water have to be reported. The information most important to Hayden and Winkeman residents is the releases to the air. Slag dumping, smelter emissions, and dust from crushing ore are all to be accounted for in the ASARCO Hayden TRI reports.
The ASARCO copper smelter in Hayden, Arizona has been one of the top releasers of TRI chemicals in the entire nation. In 1994, it was the #6 TRI releaser in the country. Starting in July 1999, the ASARCO Ray Mine will also have to report its releases.
The TRI data is compiled every year into a report called the TRI Public Data Release. The public can get these TRI Public Data Release reports for free by calling 1-800-535-0202 and asking for these reports. The information is also available on the Internet at http://mountain.epa.gov/enviro/html/tris_query.html
|SPECIAL WARNING ABOUT LEAD IN THE AIR|
The lungs trap lead dust and particles. About 90% of lead particles that are inhaled by children and adults are small enough that they remain in their lungs and are not exhaled. Almost all of these lead particles are then efficiently absorbed through the lungs and carried to the rest of the body in the bloodstream. In contrast, only about 5% of the lead that has been swallowed by adults and 35% of the lead swallowed by children is absorbed and retained in the body. What this means is that breathing lower levels of lead in the air cause greater exposure, risk, and lead absorption into the body than when soils with higher levels of lead or leaded paint chips are ingested.
FACT: Lead exposure can harm young children and babies even before they are born.
FACT: Even children who seem healthy can have high levels of lead in their bodies.
FACT: People can get lead in their bodies by swallowing lead dust or by inhaling it.
FACT: People have many options for reducing lead hazards. In most cases, lead-based paint that is in good condition is not a hazard.
Lead Gets in the Body in Many Ways
People can get lead in their body if they:
Lead is even more dangerous to children than adults because:
If not detected early, children with high levels of lead in their bodies can suffer from:
Lead is also harmful to adults. Adults can suffer from:
What You Can Do Now to Protect Your Family
TOXIC RELEASE INVENTORY SUMMARY FOR THE ASARCO-RAY
640 ASARCO AVENUE
HAYDEN, AZ 85235
The ASARCO smelter in Hayden was the number six releaser of TRI chemicals and compounds in America and number one in Arizona under the 1994 Toxic Release Inventory. In other years, it is listed as one of the top TRI releasers nationally. The Toxic Release Inventory is part of the Emergency Planning and Community Right To Know Act (EPCRA). Since 1987, you have had the right to know about the releases of certain toxic substances into the environment because of EPCRA. The following is the compilation of ASARCO's reports of releases of certain toxic chemicals into the air under the Toxic Release Inventory for the years 1991 to 1996. Releases to the land on-site are not shown.
Note the dramatic increases in releases to the air of Lead and Arsenic in 1995 and 1996. More Arsenic was released as fugitive emissions than stack emissions starting in 1992. Also releases into the air of Sulfuric Acid increased suddenly in 1993, and has increased every year since then. (Stack air releases are from the smokestack. Fugitive air releases are the amounts that get into the air in other ways where there is not just a smokestack.)
Chemicals are added to the Toxic Release Inventory when they are: "known to cause significant adverse acute human health effects at concentration levels that are reasonably likely to exist beyond facility site boundaries as a result of continuous, or frequently recurring, releases." They are also placed on the Toxic Release Inventory when they are: "known to cause cancer or teratogenic effects; serious or irreversible reproductive dysfunctions, neurological disorders, heritable gene mutations, other chronic health effects."
ADHS - Another Dishonest Health Study?
Hayden and Winkelman residents probably are wondering who these people are from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) claiming suddenly to be concerned about residents' health and planning to use ASARCO money to "study" them.
Will Humble was the one from ADHS who penned the "risk assessment" for the homes affected by the South Phoenix Quality Printed Circuits chemical fire of 1992, a fire that lasted for over 12 hours. ADHS' inconsistencies and false "scientific" conclusions regarding this chemical fire were numerous. Humble decided the contaminants in the air duct did not present a risk to the homes' occupants, and even suggested people clean their air ducts of these contaminants. Neither ADHS nor the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality would ever link the fire to the illnesses and deaths in the area of the toxic smoke.
The community turned to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) when the state agencies refused to help them. Citing the need to be "cautious" when there is a question of public health and safety, The EPA has just recently offered to clean the air ducts of the 1,800 affected homes in the area. This decision was made after conducting the first scientifically valid studies of the area affected by the fire, using actual control homes outside of the affected area in the study as a baseline (unlike the state's previous unscientific "studies"). Humble and ADHS failed to note how the state's earlier studies were unscientific. And when an ADHS-funded health survey of the area affected by the fire found over 90% of the population complaining the fire had made them ill, the ADHS refused to use the data. After all, before any chemical sampling was conducted, the same ADHS announced residents' concerns were "stress and hysteria." All this when these poisoned people were losing their hair, had severe rashes and lung problems, headaches, nausea, burning eyes, and more; obvious symptoms of chemical poisoning to anyone without a predetermined agenda. ADHS representatives even met with large groups of these people who were complaining about their illness, and ignored this evidence.
Also, while the population of the affected area decreased by 10%, the number of deaths went up. The first ADHS-blessed study made math errors and wrongly concluded there was no rise in the death rate. The community had to hire a statistics professor at ASU to show that the math was wrong. The data suggests that 80-100 extra deaths may have occurred in the affected area since the fire. But in 1996, when the highest number of deaths ever noted in the census tract was recorded, Humble and ADHS were nowhere to be found. ADHS must have "finished the job" and moved on to find new communities to "help."
Humble and his cohorts at ADHS did manage to explain to the ethnic minority community affected by the fire that the real problem was their poor diet, dirty homes, and bad health and hygiene habits, a classic example of environmental racism and just plain racism. ADHS never linked the fire to anyone's health or death problems, but the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) did exactly that at a March 11, 1999, community meeting. Dr. Susan Kess, a physician with the ATSDR's Atlanta, Georgia, headquarters definitively linked the fire to contamination in homes, human exposure, and the illnesses in the affected community.
There are plenty of other horror stories about these ADHS people, from the Maryvale cancer clusters that ADHS can't (or won't) figure out, to the Nogales cancer and lupus clusters, to bogus pesticide "risk" studies. Hayden and Winkelman residents should refuse to participate in the ADHS' planned study because it will only be used later to attack the community. ADHS won't recognize a health disaster even when it comes across one. ADHS studies are only designed to be inconclusive and help polluters. ADHS staff gets paid large salaries to never figure anything out. These same ADHS staff will say they don't have the money to do a real study, which begs the question why are they there at all...
When clear evidence exists of health and environmental problems, ADHS will never "get it." No political entity in Arizona is immune; only studies conducted by non-governmental entities or by universities from other states can be expected to be non-biased and free of political influence.
Hayden residents should close their doors to these ADHS people, and keep their children away from them.