Friday, September 13, 2013

Where Do All the Toxins Go? (Long Time Passing) *updated links*

You might think all this toxic waste being treated by incineration and open burning at the U.S. Army owned and BAE Systems operated Radford Army Ammunition Plant would have an effect on the New River downstream. You would be correct! According to this EPA report of 2008,  toxic byproducts of 2,4 Dinitrotoluene were found in the New River (where people fish and frolic) 

"...intermediates formed during DNT's degradation include 1,3-dinitrobenzene, hydroxynitrobenzene derivatives, and carboxylic acids.

Microbial biodegradation of DNT in water has been observed in both aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Bioremediation occurs mainly through the reduction of the nitrogroup (Spanggord, et., al. 1981). ..2,4 DNT degradation occurred in waters taken downstream from the Radford Army Ammunition Plant..." [pg. 16 of EPA report linked above]

According to EPA mandated reporting on the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) and complied by the non-profit  Right-to-Know Network, 103,043 pounds  of 2,4 DNT were released to the air and New River in 2009. Subsequent years do not show anywhere near this quantity, so there must have been a significant improvement made in the waste process. Certainly all of it became harmless years ago as who-knows-who went floating through it...Mercury releases, on the other hand have fluxuated from 
29 pounds in 2009, surging to 104 pounds in 2010 and precipitously back down to the same level of 29 pounds released in 2011.

The  CDC is currently updating the toxicological profile for DNT and would welcome YOUR input. There aren't a lot of recent studies of exposed populations (and the CDC's ATSDR will not be evaluating our exposure to DNT as part of the tax-payer funded) >>>link to study updated 9-16<<<  Health Assessment for our community so anecdotal reports about similar neurological symptoms is just what they need to hear. These symptoms, as ATSDR/CDC notes from a study of munitions workers in 1947 might sound familiar if you work at or live around RAAP:  (section Neurological Effects)

Various neurological symptoms, including headache, vertigo, and pain or numbness in the extremities,
have been reported in surveys of munitions workers exposed to unspecified concentrations of 2,4-
DNT (McGee et al. 1947). 
  If you breathe at or around the Radford Arsenal and have experienced any of these symptoms, please take a minute to email the lead researcher for the study being done around RAAP. These symptoms are similiar to diabetes, but some people say they get headaches and dizziness here for no apparent reason at all. Dr. Neurath will be glad to hear from you at her offices of the  Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR) at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) because she is our public servant in charge of the Health Assessment for our community: Dr. Sue Neurath and you can help by providing comments using the link for "updating the profile" from above before September 30th.

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