Based on tests in some areas of the mill site, the groundwater has been affected by eight chemicals of concern. Included in this list of chemicals are hexavalent chromium and arsenic. (Source PES Environmental, Inc. Data Gap Evaluation Report May 13, 2008 p.6 to be found on the California Water Board’s Geotracker website.)About hexavalent chromium:
Hexavalent chromium is listed as a known cause of cancer by the State of California (proposition 65). Effects of exposure also include irritation to the lining of the nose, nose ulcers, and breathing problems. It can effect red blood cells and hemoglobin. It also is known to cause irritation and ulcers to the stomach and small intestine, anemia, kidney and urinary tract damage, sperm damage and damage to the male reproductive system and skin ulcers. A more complete summary of effects can be found on the website for the state of California proposition 65
Why is this important? The chemicals made by the Samoa Pulp Mill under various owners are still in the soil and groundwater and possibly leaking into Humboldt Bay. Also workers and nearby residents may still be suffering from the effects of these chemicals. We need to be aware and keep putting pressure on present owners to clean it up.