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Toenail clippings to measure toxic exposure in NJ

March 24, 2013 • Business


In this Friday, March 22, 2013, photo,a lock and chain holds together a fence surrounding a superfund site, in Garfield, N.J. In 1983, an accident at an electroplating company spilled 5,560 pounds of toxic hexavalent chromium. The company recovered about 30 percent of it, but stopped two years later when the state DEP determined there was no threat to public health. Now a group of scientists from New York University are undertaking an effort to conduct individual medical evaluations of people who live near the site. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

GARFIELD, N.J. (AP) — The neighborhood looks exceedingly normal: single-family homes and apartment buildings packed together, dogs barking from postage-stamp-size lawns, parents hustling down narrow sidewalks to fetch their children from school. But something with very dangerous potential lies below the surface, officials say.

The residents’ toenails will provide confirmation.

A plume of hexavalent chromium, a metal used in industrial production that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls a “well-established carcinogen,” has spread under Garfield, putting about one-tenth of the city’s homes — about 600 structures and 3,600 residents — at risk.

The Environmental Protection Agency is about to start drilling on the spill site to determine Login to read more

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