2014 / Q3 News Briefs

More than 500,000 tons of chromium-impacted soil and debris have been dug up and hauled away since the cleanup on Garfield Avenue began in July 2010.
Latest blood results confirm safety measures remain effective spacer

JERSEY CITY, N.J., Aug. 14, 2014 – The fifth round of blood samples collected from residents living near the Garfield Avenue chromium cleanup sites confirms the multiple and overlapping exposure prevention measures are working. No detectable levels of chromium were found in blood samples.

Blood samples were collected from community volunteers from May 28 through June 21 in the latest installment of an independent study administered by the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute at Rutgers University. The project is designed to determine whether community exposure to hexavalent chromium changes during and after the cleanup on Garfield Avenue.

Laboratory results from all five rounds show there have been no changes in chromium levels that could be attributed to the digging up and hauling away of more than 500,000 tons of chromium-impacted soil and debris since the cleanup began in July 2010.

“These results should assure residents that the steps we implemented from the very beginning of the excavation remain effective in preventing the community from being exposed to chromium as a result of the cleanup,” said Mike McCabe, the independent, court-appointed site administrator.

Among the protective measures is a dust-suppression plan designed to prevent excavated materials, including hexavalent chromium, from becoming airborne. McCabe said air-monitoring results also confirm extensive exposure prevention efforts are working. Hexavalent chromium levels measured in airborne dust at the perimeter of the site are well within safety levels established by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Click here to see latest results.

McCabe said the voluntary blood sampling program is being conducted in response to community concerns about exposure during the cleanup. Under program guidelines, samples are being collected and analyzed by an independent laboratory. The next round of sampling will be conducted next year. The cleanup of the main Garfield Avenue group of sites is expected to be completed by next December.

The first round of sampling was conducted in June 2010 before cleanup activities began at the Garfield Avenue Site in July 2010. A final round of sampling will be conducted after the cleanup is complete.

No additional residents can be enrolled in the blood sampling program because blood samples taken before the cleanup work began are required for comparison against samples collected during and after the cleanup.