California has a list of chemicals that are known to cause cancer and birth defects (proposition 65). The list of these chemicals is available online.
In the proposed Water Permit (hearing date June 10, 2010) certain chemicals must be monitored because they have been detected in mill emissions or are likely emissions of this pulp mill. They include prop. 65 chemicals such as arsenic, aldrin, benzene, mercury, nickel, hexavalent chromium, DDT and many others. The draft permit is online.
There are 13 wells at the mill site. The last recorded test (2008) reveals many prop. 65 chemicals including arsenic, chromium, manganese, benzene, chromium, hexavalent chromium, nickel and many others. Many of the listed chemicals are above the reporting level some as high as 1000 times.
This is why Louisiana Pacific is being force to clean up the site. Evergreen would have been involved, but it skipped town. This information is available at the State Water Board Geotracker site.
A health risk assessment was done in 2006. Although it was done by a company hired by Evergreen Pulp, it had some interesting findings. Among the chemicals listed as toxic air contaminants are a number of prop. 65 chemicals including acetaldehyde, benzene, carbon tetrachloride, chloroform, ethyl benzene and formaldehyde. The cancer risk at the point of maximum impact is 35 in one million far above the significant cancer risk level of 10 in one million. This site is located on the north fence line. IT WOULD SEEM THAT IF IT IS THIS HIGH NEAR THE PLANT, IT WOULD IMPACT THE WORKERS ON THE MILL SITE. They target hexavalent chromium and acetaldehyde as the chemicals that contribute the majority of the cancer risk. There is a scary list of toxic emissions at the end of the report many of which are on the prop.65 list of cancer causing agents. Parts of this health risk assessment can be downloaded on this site.
The mill has a long list of violations including having their water permit revoked in 2009. We will say more about all the violations in future articles. The mill is old and has frequent breakdowns which cause toxic emissions. Looking back we found a report by Tetra Tech in 2005 after an inspection of the mill which reported “visible entrained grey to black particulate matter circulating inside the recovery boiler building; grey powder accumulation on handrailings inside building,” “Pulp debris from various process stages on cement floor of downstairs of process building. Debris formed a sort of dry carpet of pulp and grey/black ashy material on cement pad outside near the sulfur tank/caustic operations area and drains.” While this may have been cleaned up, ONE CAN ONLY WONDER WHAT CHEMICALS THE WORKERS WERE BREATHING AT THAT TIME.”
All of the above are part of the public record and can be checked.
A google search for cancer and pulp mill workers has 18,600 entries. The studies of pulp mill workers are many. We will cover some of these in future articles. Some of the diseases that are prevalent among workers are leukemia, non-hodgkins lymphoma, methothelioma and cancers of the digestive system.
Only the pulp mill workers know how many of their fellow workers have come down with cancer or died from it.
Pulp mill workers don’t take our word for it. Look up the studies. Check with the Air and Water Boards for information. Then ask yourself, “AM I WILLING TO RISK MY LIFE FOR FRESHWATER TISSUE?”