Cancer Community Victim of EPA Stalling on TCE Toxicity
In March 2003, Micah's Mission petitioned Georgia Public Health to investigate the high cancer rates on Pittard Road, and to determine if the high emissions of trichloroethylene (TCE) from Nakanishi Manufacturing Corporation were of significance and contributory.
That investigation determined that there were high rates of cancer, and that residents were being exposed to TCE.
We, the Northeast Georgia Children's Environmental Health Coalition, Clean Air Athens, and Micah's Mission, went on the Georgia Environmental Protection Division's (EPD) official record of Nakanishi's public hearing on July 25, 2005 to question the environmental health effects of continuing to allow into our airshed large amounts of a chemical that causes cancer, birth defects, and is a neurotoxin. In December of 2005, we protested the Georgia EPD's decision to renew the air permit to Nakanishi. It was discovered during this permit renewal process that Nakanishi's TCE emissions had been previously underestimated. We petitioned to Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, Congressman Charlie Norwood and Georgia State Senators Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss to protect the health, welfare and safety of this community to no avail.
We legally appealed Nakanishi's permit renewal to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson in Washington, DC to intervene on behalf of the residents and children of this community. Yet like our aforementioned political leaders on Capitol Hill & the Gold Dome in Atlanta, EPA Administrator Johnson granted continued emission of this dangerous chemical knowing from the EPA 2001 Risk Assessment on TCE that it was 40x (forty times) more toxic than originally thought.
Dr. Jeff Fisher, toxicologist and TCE expert at the University of Georgia, completed air sampling in our community, and determined these emissions were chemically trespassing and contaminating Coile Middle School's air indoor and outside, as well as other homes and a business that are neighbors to Nakanishi. There is potential harm for children and sensitive populations from the externalizing of TCE into the host community. The concentrations detected by air sampling would not be allowed in other states. Dr. Fisher has personally stated, "I know of no other community that has ambient (outdoor) air concentrations as high as what was measured there."
We, NE Georgia Children's Environmental Health Coalition, Clean Air Athens, and Micah's Mission stand together to announce that this dangerous chemical which has been emitted for the past fourteen years on a continuous basis into our community is in need of regulation. Given the red flag of high cancer rates of our citizens combined with the possible ongoing adverse effects to our airshed, we ask the EPA to fulfill its mission of protecting the environment and human health from trichloroethylene without further delay.
We ask our elected officials of Georgia, and those who represent us in Washington to review the National Academy of Sciences extensive report on TCE issued in July and immediately adopt a safe interim standard until a promulgation that will insure TCE will not be allowed to harm anyone else in this community or this country.
Founder, MICAH's Mission
Founder, Northeast Georgia Children's Environmental Health Coalition
Co-Chair, Clean Air Athens