The Alliance For A Clean Environment

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DEP’s Radiation “UNprotection Plan”

What’s the Reality?

DEP’s plan is really about protecting radioactive waste generators, not public health. DEP’s plan will help generators of radioactive wastes to unload them cheaply and avoid liability, while the public is left to pay the ultimate price.

Why Worry?
PA is the #1 importer of waste in the nation. This makes “PA citizens #1 at risk” from an ever increasing radioactive waste stream. This threat goes far beyond personal medical wastes. Radioactive tissues and kitty litter public relations propaganda is dangerously deceptive. Find out just how radioactive the waste stream really is becoming, from Nuclear Information and Resource Service information available from ACE (610) 326-6433, or contact national expert - Diane D’Arrigo (202) 328-0002 or e-mail

Transportation Risks
Radioactive wastes present risks to all PA residents on garbage routes and on transportation routes to all 49 PA landfills and other disposal facilities. Example: 300 trucks travel through many communities to the Pottstown Landfill every day. If the other 48 PA landfills get that number of trucks, approximately 14, 700 trucks could travel PA roads every day, carrying unknown amounts and kinds of radioactive wastes.

Victimized Landfill Communities
The most unacceptable risks are in and around landfill communities, where there are CONTINUOUS and very CONCENTRATED EXPOSURES to unknown amounts of radioactive wastes every day. Radiation exposure risks will remain unknown and grow worse with DEP’s plan. DEP’s plan will NOT measure or identity how much radioactive waste enters a landfill every day. Health risks couldn’t possibly be determined. Example: Every day 4,000 to 6,000 tons of waste come to the Pottstown Landfill. Radioactive wastes are not measured or reported. Therefore, DEP can not scientifically substantiate a claim that there is no health harm.

Additive and Synergistic Health Risks
DEP inaccurately claims certain radioactive wastes pose no threat to the public or the environment. Continuous low level radiation exposures harm human health - confirmed by the National Academy of Science report in 1990, Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation. Additive and synergistic health effects are not accurately measured from landfills, where massive unknown amounts of radiation mix with heavy metals and hundreds or thousands of chemicals and their more potent combinations. DEP may not be able to identify the risks and chooses to ignore them, but landfill communities can’t. They deserve PRECAUTION and need PROTECTION!

Health risks need to be given top priority. NRC exemptions do not remove risks. Communities with high background levels need zero radiation exposure limits. Radioactive products, building materials, research and medical wastes are ALL dumped in massive amounts in PA landfills. For more information: Contact national radiation expert Dr. Judith Johnsrud, on the Advisory Group to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Low-Level Radiation Health Effects Research Program. (814) 237-3900 or e-mail

Pottstown Landfill Disaster – Radioactive Gas and Leachate
DEP and NRC permitted Pottstown Landfill to accept massive amounts of radioactive wastes since at least 1983. (35,000 tons of radioactive wastes every year since 1983, Interstate Nuclear Services waste, 864,000 tons of medical waste just from one year, 1994). Through the Pottstown experience, DEP learned radioactive wastes contaminate the other wastes and escape into community air and waster with radioactive Pottstown Landfill gas and leachate. (documented by DEP’s testing). Radiation can not be filtered out of landfill gas and leachate. Residents air, water, and health can’t be protected.

Cancer Crisis Around the Pottstown Landfill
The area around the Pottstown Landfill has almost double leukemia compared to the state. Low-level radiation exposure, to ionizing radiation, such as the Pottstown Landfill gets every day, has been linked with leukemia. Childhood cancer rates are now almost 100% higher than the state and tri county, and 92.5 % above the nation. Documentation: PA Cancer Registry Statistics.

Prevention is the best protection!
Radioactive wastes must be monitored at the source and on the trucks, BEFORE they are transported through our communities to the landfills. DEP admitted in its report to the Environmental Quality Board that, “The most effective way to deal with radioactive wastes is at the origin of the waste.” Why not use the most effective approach?

DEP’s “unprotective back-end thinking” must be turned into a “front-end solution.”
We must avoid transporting radioactive wastes into PA and PA landfills. Why contaminate other wastes and trucks with radiation? Why expose residents and drivers on route to the landfills? Why expect heavily populated PA landfill communities to carry the radioactive waste burden for generators and users of radioactive wastes? Why not set up a system for isolated safer containment areas, rather than contaminate PA’s air, water, soil, food, and health with radiation? Why not avoid the Pottstown experience in the other 48 landfill communities?

If monitoring is really the goal, why require permits for all PA landfills to accept radioactive wastes under DEP’s “protective plan”?
DEP is the first in the nation to open the floodgates to radioactive wastes into its landfills. DEP required all PA landfills to be permitted to accept radioactive wastes. Example: Pottstown Landfill applied for a Major Permit Modification to legally dispose of radioactive wastes.

DEP’s monitoring does not prevent radiation from entering the landfill and is anything but protective – It’s a Band-Aid on a Dam.
1. DEP only requires monitoring for one out of three kinds of radiation at the landfill gate, and no monitoring of the gas and leachate before they leave the landfill.
2. Monitoring is done only on truck sides, not on top and bottom. Lots of radiation can hide in the middle and on the bottom of thousands of pounds of trash.
3. Calibration of monitors is not required to be set to prevent cancer and other illnesses, but so as not to interrupt landfill operations.
4. Calibration set according to background, where it is already too high, like Pottstown, is even greater risk. When alarms go off DEP has no effective, protective plan. Landfill operators can choose to save time, make money and dump the load, OR begin a time consuming investigation which would make drivers and haulers angry and lead to no protective solution.

For More Information:

landfill radiation

P.O. Box 3063
Stowe, PA 19464

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