DuPont at work in New Jersey

Sunday, February 7, 2010
Last updated: Sunday February 7, 2010, 10:13 AM

The Record
Families already reeling from news that their health might be imperiled by dangerous chemicals seeping from a defunct DuPont munitions factory may now have something else to worry about: declining property values in their Passaic County neighborhood.
Toxic history

For much of the 20th century, a sprawling DuPont plant in northern Pompton Lakes made explosives for the government and other customers.

Since closing the plant in 1994, DuPont has removed soil and pumped out groundwater tainted with elevated levels of lead and mercury, as well as cancer-causing industrial solvents.

In June 2008, news broke that dangerous vapors had been discovered seeping under homes in a neighborhood south of the site, prompting the company to install venting systems for homeowners who asked for them.

In December 2009, a state health department report showed that residents of the “plume” area had elevated levels of kidney cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Although no conclusive link was drawn between the illnesses and the pollution at the site, the chemicals have been shown to cause both forms of cancer.

The state has promised to expand its study while the federal Environment Protection Agency considers requests by residents to have the area placed on its Superfund toxic site list.

— Dave Sheingold

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