The Alliance For A Clean Environment
Can You and Your Family Afford Pottstown Landfill Expansion?
Every truckload can ultimately increase health threats to your family as it produces toxic gas and leachate. We believe you have a right to know the potential health risks from Pottstown Landfill gas and leachate. After evaluating our report, we believe you will agree - it’s time to close this 54 year old, 300 acre monument to garbage, not allow it to continue to expand to the 800 acres Waste Management already owns.
irresponsible, it is unnecessary and unacceptable.
There is currently enough permitted landfill space in PA to take our waste and all that would come here for another 12 years. Why should we be forced to continue to be a sacrifice zone for the profits of a world-wide waste company? The waste stream is getting continually more dangerous! It’s time to end this blight on our already toxic damaged community. The Pottstown Landfill must be shut down now to protect the future health of our community!
STOP Pottstown Landfill Expansion
YOU CAN HELP!
Share this ACE Special Report On Pottstown Landfill and Your Health With Everyone You Know!
Special Report To The Community On
The Pottstown Landfill And
Your Family’s Health, Safety, and Welfare
ACE is concerned about the health and quality of life of area residents. A seven year investigation has led us to believe there is great potential for harm to the health of tens of thousands of people who live and work around the Pottstown Landfill (over 30,000 live within 3 miles). ACE is especially concerned about those already sick and thousands of children who attend 29 schools and day-cares within 3 miles. You have a right to know your potential health risks from Pottstown Landfill gas and leachate. ACE urges you to read this report.
Childhood Cancer - PA Cancer Registry Statistics
Almost 100% HIGHER than the state and tri-county averages
92.5% HIGHER than the national average
About 17% HIGHER than the National Average. The rest of the tri-county and state were similar to the national average.
0 - 29 15.3% HIGHER than the National Average
30 - 44 51.4% HIGHER than the National Average
45 - 64 39.3% HIGHER than the National Average
65 + 28.6 % HIGHER than the National Average
Brain Cancer - Penn State Graduate Students’ Report for ACE - Reported September, 2002
Pottstown - 9.25 cases per 100,000 - 1999 Statistics
Significantly HIGHER than the state and nation averages
Significantly HIGHER than any other municipality within a 12 mile radius
These cancers were AMONG the HIGHEST NUMBERS of CANCERS in
Greater Pottstown Area Children around the Pottstown Landfill.
Montgomery County Health Department (MCHD) January, 1998
PA Cancer Registry Data – 1985 to 1994 – Area around the Pottstown Landfill
Leukemia - almost DOUBLE the rate of the entire state of PA
Lung Cancer - up to 22% to 33% HIGHER than the tri-county
Cervical Cancer – 2˝ to 3 times higher than the tri-county
Without a shred of evidence or site specific research, MCHD reported this information and claimed there was no link to the Pottstown Landfill, even though this was the area around the Pottstown Landfill. Mr. Gage, director of (MCHD), later admitted he had no right to make that statement. Pottstown Landfill gas was never independently and comprehensively tested, for ALL carcinogens, nor were the synergistic and additive health impacts known.
Pottstown Landfill Gas is likely a major
factor in our significantly elevated cancers.
More than enough evidence and research was presented to MCHD and DEP suggesting Pottstown Landfill gas was a major factor in the elevated cancers, yet neither MCHD nor DEP did any scientific research to look for the links between the landfill and the cancers. It is obvious to those with no incentive to look the other way, that there are many potential links. These links deserved evaluation and consideration before the last landfill expansion air permit was issued two weeks after the Montgomery County Health Department Report was announced in 1998. Yet all were ignored by DEP and the Health Department.
• The same cancers documented to be elevated within several miles of the Pottstown Landfill were also documented to be elevated around other landfills.
• Research identified many carcinogens in landfill gas.
• Research shows that these carcinogenic gases escape into the air people breathe around landfills.
• Groups of cancers (leukemia, lung, cervical, childhood) were identified by the MCHD, all in the same location, within 1 to 3 miles and in the general downwind direction of Pottstown Landfill gas.
• ACE identified 14 children with cancer within 2 miles of the Pottstown Landfill.
• A two block long area about a mile downwind of the Pottstown Landfill was identified to have cancer victims at almost every address. Pets were also affected.
• ACE has accumulated other massive anecdotal evidence on cancer victims close to the landfill. For example, one woman, living about 2 miles downwind of the Pottstown Landfill, tracked over 60 cancer victims within 1 to 2 miles of her home.
• Additive, cumulative, and synergistic cancer causing effects of landfill gas have never been identified.
• The extent of our area’s cancer risks from breathing Pottstown Landfill gas has yet to be determined.
• Common sense and logic suggest that breathing combinations of the documented and suspected carcinogens in Pottstown Landfill gas, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, is a probable major factor in elevated cancers in our area.
Most independent observers believe that evidence suggests Pottstown Landfill gas 'IS' a major factor in our elevated cancers. So why wasn’t the research done to look for the obvious links to the landfill? ACE believes our elected officials and government agencies lack the political will to tell the truth.
If Pottstown Landfill gas were independently and comprehensively tested for ALL carcinogens, including radiation and dioxin by-products, the carcinogenic effects of Pottstown Landfill gas would likely be proven to be devastating.
Elevated Infant Mortality
• October, 1997 an article appeared in the Pottstown Mercury - "Borough’s Baby Death Rate Fuels 'Concern'." The Montgomery County Health Department identified Elevated Infant Mortality in Pottstown.
• February 28, 1999 - Pottstown Mercury article "Too many baby deaths in Pottstown."
"In Pottstown, far too many infant deaths" - raised the issue that despite health department efforts to curb infant deaths in Pottstown during the past several years, Pottstown continues to have a higher than average infant mortality rate.
• "This is embarrassing. This county is too wealthy and too educated to have this happen. For a county this wealthy we need to do better." Quote by Montgomery County Commissioner James W. Maza in 2/28/99 Mercury article.
Pottstown Landfill gas could be a factor in Pottstown’s elevated infant mortality.
• Low birth weight can lead to infant mortality. Birth certificate data was collected in 4 townships close to a landfill for a twenty-five year period. Infants closest to that landfill had twice the risk of being born premature and had significantly lower birth weight that those further away.
• There is an association between increased levels of air pollution during pregnancy and a reduction in birth weight – Wang, et al. from 1997. Pottstown Landfill emits enormous amounts of air pollutants associated with measured air pollution under the Clean Air Act.
• A 1998 Science News article revealed research showing that "Fetal Deaths Climb with Air Pollution". This study compared daily tallies of fetal deaths to daily concentrations of major air pollution.
• In 1999 MSNBC news – Scientists uncovered disturbing evidence that developing fetuses and infants may be highly vulnerable to certain synthetic chemicals widespread in the environment – even at low levels.
• Low-level RADIATION exposure has been linked with elevated infant mortality at: Hiroshima and Nagasaki, data collected from monitoring stations as far as 9,000 miles from Chernobyl, after the rod meltdown in Savannah River, Georgia, and Three Mile Island, where people received only low doses. Pottstown Landfill emits continuous undetermined amounts and kinds of low levels of radiation from its gas, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Pottstown Memorial Medical Center (PMMC) Physicians
In July, 2001, the majority of physicians at PMMC sent a letter to Governor Ridge and then resubmitted it in November, 2001 to Governor Schweiker, concerning Pottstown Landfill gas and its transport to Occidental to be used for fuel in their boilers. The letter said:
• "We cannot risk any more pollution problems."
• "You need to consider how concerned our doctors are as they see a significant increase in pollution-induced disease"
• "Specifically, those most concerned are the pulmonologists, allergists, pediatricians and obstetricians."
• "Family physicians keep expressing more concerns as well"
Phoenixville Hospital Physicians
In November, 2001, the majority of physicians at Phoenixville Hospital sent a similar petition to Governor Schweiker to protect area residents. This confirms concern from area physicians who would know best about elevated illnesses in our area. It also acknowledges increases in other elevated environmentally linked illness patterns, in addition to significantly elevated cancers and infant mortality.
► Pottstown Landfill deceptively claims it is a municipal waste landfill, accepting mostly household trash.
A file review of DEP records would suggest otherwise. Waste Management’s own attorney said the Pottstown Landfill was an “industrial” waste landfill, and the only one in the region. Even if "mostly household trash" were dumped, that doesn’t mean the waste is not hazardous. Vast kinds of household wastes are considered hazardous even by DEP’s own brochure. Most are thrown away with household trash. That increases our hazardous risk potential, since we are exposed to the concentrations from 7 other counties, including Philadelphia.
► The Pottstown Landfill deceptively claims it does not take hazardous waste.
That’s a word game. The same waste dumped at the Pottstown Landfill which was called “hazardous” until the early 90’s, is still coming to the Pottstown Landfill, but it is now called “residual.” DEP changed the name “hazardous “ to “residual.” This linguistic detoxification did not reduce our health risks. Regardless of what DEP allows Pottstown Landfill to call it, these “residual” wastes are extremely hazardous to human health. Pottstown Landfill dumped massive amounts of extremely hazardous contaminated soils, industrial and radioactive sewage sludge, incinerator ash, medical wastes, demolition debris, etc. A file review of DEP records revealed just how much industrial waste Pottstown Landfill receives.
• DEP issues permission for vast numbers of industries to dump hundreds and even thousands of tons of their industrial wastes per facility per year.
• Hundreds and even thousands of tons of medical wastes are permitted every year from many hospitals far and wide, including infectious medical wastes.
• Sewage sludge has been accepted from sewer treatment plants far and wide. There was even 5 years of dumping of untreated New York sewer sludge. EPA lists the kinds of bacteria, viruses, protozoa, parasitic worms, fungi, and other pathogens found in sewage sludge, along with their related symptoms and diseases. Sludge from sewage treatment plants have concentrated the heavy metals in the Pottstown Landfill.
► The landfill falsely claims its gas is not hazardous. Occidental asked DEP for an INCREASE of 310% in HAZARDOUS air emissions to burn Pottstown Landfill gas, instead of natural gas in its boilers. Occidental’s permit is proof enough that Pottstown Landfill gas is extremely hazardous. However, evaluate chemicals likely to be in Pottstown Landfill gas and their health effects, heavy metals, radiation, and dioxin by-products of Pottstown Landfill gas combustion. You will have no doubt that Pottstown Landfill gas is hazardous to you and your family.
► To understand your health risks from the Pottstown Landfill, we ask you to look at the kinds of toxic substances dumped in the landfill. There are 70,000 man made chemicals. Thousands of them have made their way to the Pottstown Landfill.
► Extremely potent carcinogens escape with the landfill gas 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from four combustion sources. Evidence, as well as common sense, suggest that Pottstown Landfill gas is a major factor in the seriously elevated cancers in our area.
► DEP standards are not set to keep you and your children from getting cancer and other serious illnesses associated with Pottstown Landfill gas emissions. Even if they were, DEP only evaluates your risk from one hazardous substance at a time. You’re continuously exposed to the additive and synergistic impacts of hundreds of them at one time.
► While levels of each hazardous substance may or may not be low, the collective threat of hundreds, if not thousands, to your family’s health is indisputable. Pottstown Landfill gas emissions not only threaten you and you children outdoors, they also get into your homes and schools, and contaminate your water, soil, and food.
Pottstown Landfill Emits Hazardous Gas
Into Our Air 24 Hours a Day, 7 Days a Week.
Evaluate the documented health effects of just a few of those chemicals, heavy metals, and radiation. Additive and synergistic health impacts of all the hazardous substances which escape with the Pottstown Landfill gas are unknown, but common sense should tell anyone who cares about the health of the families in this community, that we can not allow this chemical plague to continue.
NIOSH, OSHA, ATSDR, and EPA have all documented that chemicals known to be in Pottstown Landfill gas are hazardous to human health.
Occidental Chemical asked DEP to INCREASE HAZARDOUS AIR EMISSIONS by 310% to burn Pottstown Landfill gas, instead of natural gas, as fuel in its boilers. The documented harmful health impacts of some of the HAZARDOUS Pottstown Landfill gas chemicals listed in Oxy’s permit include:
• Vinyl Chloride – Confirmed potent human carcinogen. Causes liver damage, immune system damage, nerve damage, reproductive effects, and even mutation.
• Benzene – Causes cancer, leukemia, anemia, Hodgkin’s disease and lymphoma, and immune system damage increasing the chance for infections, allergies, asthma, and other auto-immune diseases. Symptoms: fatigue, drowsiness, headache, dizziness, blurred vision, nausea, weakness, tremors, confusion, excessive bleeding.
• Dichloroethene – Liver damage, nervous system damage, lung damage.
• Methylene chloride – Causes cancer. Inhalation can cause convulsions and change cardiac rate. Reported to cause mutation.
• Tetracloroethene – Liver damage, kidney damage. Symptoms: dizziness, headache, sleepiness, confusion, nausea, difficulty speaking and walking, unconsciousness.
• Trichloroethene (TCE) – Liver damage, lung damage, nervous system effects, abnormal heartbeat, coma.
• Mercury – Affects central nervous system. May damage the brain, kidneys, developing fetus, cause lung damage. Symptoms: irritability, depression, tremors, eye irritation, change in vision or hearing, memory loss, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, skin rashes, increases in blood pressure or heart rate.
2. The Florida study found that landfills emit methyl-mercury, known to cause severe health problems in humans. Methyl mercury is extremely bio-accumulative.
More Evidence - Pottstown Landfill Gas Can Harm Health
Methane and Methane Compounds
Approximately 50 % of the landfill gas is methane. Methane combines with other materials in the landfill to form many other toxic and dangerous compounds. Some 39 methane compounds were identified as likely to be in Pottstown Landfill gas. Not all health threats from these compounds have been comprehensively tested for human toxicity.
Health Risks from Methane
• Methane affects the Central Nervous System causing NERVOUS SYSTEM DISORDERS. National Toxicology Program (NIEHS)
• While methane has never been adequately tested for its carcinogenic potential, testing has shown that inhalation of methane is linked to BLADDER CANCER. Siemiatychi, PHD, Gerin PHD, Stuart BSC, Madon PHD, and Richardson MSC say there is an association between several sites of cancer, especially bladder cancer. 1988 Natural Gas magazine Pages 79 to 90.
• Methane and its compounds may burn the throat, nose, mouth and skin.
• Methane can affect the eyes, including eye irritation, blurred vision, to even causing corneal turbidity.
• High methane concentrations cause oxygen deficiency which can lead to nausea, vomiting, pressure in forehead and eyes, to even unconsciousness.
• High methane concentrations can cause shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, and burning lungs.
• Short term exposure can cause tingling sensation , dizziness, suffocation convulsions, and coma.
Chlorine Chemicals and Compounds
Chlorine chemicals in the Pottstown Landfill can produce very serious toxic health effects through inhalation. Chlorine compounds and by-products of combustion produce ever worse toxic effects. Some 35 chlorine compounds are likely to be in Pottstown Landfill gas.
Health Effects of Chlorine Chemicals and Compounds
• "There is an association between chlorinated by–products and cancer" - Fred Hauchman of EPA.
• Chlorine is a very corrosive chemical to humans. Inhalation of chlorine into moist lungs forms hydrochloric acid, which can damage the lungs.
• Chlorine with other chemicals can produce other dangerous acids and asphyxiates.
• Chlorine can damage the immune system.
• Chlorine exposure can have reproductive effects.
• Chlorine exposure can affect the heart and have effects in the blood
• Chlorine exposure can affect the nose with everything from irritation, and burning to olfactory fatigue.
• Chlorine exposure can irritate the eyes and cause tearing, reddening, or even permanent damage to the eyes.
• Breathing chlorine can irritate, burn and redden the throat, cause laryngitis or even cause changes in the trachea.
• Chlorine exposure can irritate the mouth, erode enamel of the teeth and affect mucous membranes.
• Chlorine can affect the skin.
• Chlorine can cause headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and coughing.
Dioxin - Dioxin, one of the most carcinogenic chemicals known to mankind, is a combustion by-product of chlorinated chemicals. There are massive unknown amounts of chlorine chemicals and their compounds in Pottstown Landfill gas. Common sense suggests too much dioxin is being produced at the Pottstown Landfill.
• Dioxin affects human health at parts per trillion, it accumulates in the body fat, and is passed on to our children.
• EPA says every man, woman, and child’s body in the nation may already contain enough dioxin to cause adverse health effects.
• EPA also says that people who live near sources of dioxin (like those who live near the Pottstown Landfill) are at far greater risk from inhalation of dioxin.
• There are 4 continuous combustion sources burning Pottstown Landfill gas (loaded with chlorinated chemicals) producing dioxin 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
• We breathe unknown amounts of dioxins 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in combination with other hazardous chemicals, heavy metals, and radiation.
Health effects of Dioxin:
2. Hormone Disruption
3. Birth Defects - Low Birth Weight
5. Infertility – Low Sperm Count
9. Learning Disabilities
10. Decreased IQ
11. Nervous System Damage
12. Hyperactivity in children – Short Attention Span
13. Immune System Damage – Leading to Asthma, Allergies, and Increase Infections
HUNDREDS, if not THOUSANDS, of Other TOXIC CHEMICALS Are Also In the Pottstown Landfill. Based on what’s been dumped in the Pottstown Landfill we know there are hundreds, if not thousands of toxic chemicals, and their even more hazardous combinations.
Example of just 4 Chemicals and their documented health effects. It is significant to note that all have not been tested for cancer:
Benzene and Benzene Compounds - 20 Compounds Identified
Lymph Gland Cancer
Low level exposures can cause:
Rapid Heart Rate
Immune System Changes
Aplastic Anemia – NIEHS noted exposure causation from 0.28 ppm
Most chemicals and their compounds in the landfill have never been synergistically tested. Examples of incompatibility and synergism:
Styrene (Vinyl Benzene) (Ethenyl benzene)
Xylene (1 to 65 ppm Benzene)
Ethane and Ethane Compounds - 21 Compounds Identified
Health Effects (Inhalation):
Central Nervous System Effects
Tightness in the head
P.O. Box 3063
Stowe, PA 19464
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