Exclusive WBEN Audio
On the WBEN Liveline
Jeff Huber, Attica resident
fighting recycling site odors
..and later with WBEN's Tom Bauerle
-- coming soon.--
READ THE AIR TESTING RESULTS
A large pile of plastic materials for recycling has been smoldering for months, and neighbors say the US Environmental Protection Agency is expected to spread the pile around and try and put out the fire this weekend. But in the meantime, concerns about what they may have taken in linger, and the stink remains.
The latest round of independent air samples were taken August 8 and August 26 at 5 different sites.
The results found levels of Styrene at 704 times higher than the state wide average, and Ethylbenzene over 90 times higher than the state average. Chlorobenzene and Toluene were also found at above average levels.
Benzene is known to cause cancer, based on evidence from studies in both people and laboratory animals. The link between benzene and cancer has largely focused on leukemia and cancers of other blood cells. Massive doses of toluene can cause cardiac abnormalities, but none of the other chemicals are listed by federal officials as cancer-causing.
The levels were significantly higher at night.
The EPA says that short-term exposure to most of these chemicals results in respiratory effects, such as throat irritation and chest constriction, irritation of the eyes, and neurological effects such as dizziness. Similar gastrointestinal effects are also reported by the EPA for the chemicals found there.
Residents around the site have complained for months about noxious smells in Attica, including various eye irritants. The State DEC has been working with Hillcrest to ease some of the odors, but -- so far - found no violation of the various state air pollution permits that regulate what they can release into the atmosphere.
Earlier state testing showed no health problems coming from the site, but the EPA testing was demanded by upset residents. The state has said while the odors pose no health risk, they can be highly irritating