Three years ago, community members in Old Bridge, Sayreville, and surrounding New Jersey towns were angry when the United States Environmental Protection Agency told them that their beautiful beaches and recently renovated boardwalks that they use daily to walk, swim, fish, and sunbathe are lined with toxic lead slag and would be closed indefinitely. They quickly learned that three decades ago the State of New Jersey allowed thousands of tons of leaking toxic lead slag, which was smelted decades ago, to be used for beachfront stabilization and jetties. When the state finally got around to admitting the scope of the problem and its potential impacts to children's health, 40 years of exposure to cancer-causing lead had passed.
The toxic slag has already deprived the Raritan Bay communities of their right to access the beaches and waterfront, and even worse, it will continue to contaminate the entire ecosystem and pose a threat to the sportsman and families who recreate along the toxic waterfront until it is removed.
The toxic slag was dumped over 38 years ago and has leached lead, arsenic, antimony and copper onto the beaches and into the bay sediments and wetlands. Because lead levels on the beach are in the 150,000 – 200,000 ppm range and exceeding safe levels by 500 times the state standard, these levels are a direct threat to anyone who comes into contact with the toxic slag or the contaminated sediments.
According to state and federal health agencies, there is no safe level of lead! The more lead is studied, the more health agencies caution about any exposure. No matter how small the amount of lead found at beaches and near where children play, it is at alarming levels. Exposure to lead is more dangerous in children because their growing bodies and brains are more sensitive than adults. According to Federal and State Health officials high levels of lead exposure in children lead to the developing of blood anemia, severe stomach aches, muscle weakness, and even brain damage. Since there is no safe level of lead exposure, even low levels in children can lead to I.Q. deficiencies, reading and learning disabilities, reduced attention spans, hyperactivity and other behavioral problems. Arsenic is a cancer-causing metal, and copper and antimony are equally hazardous to humans and animals as well.
The toxic slag poses an extremely high health risk not only to the surrounding community but to the wildlife in the area as well. Biota samples have found elevated levels of metals in the animals tested, affecting the fish, crabs and other biota, and likely moving up the food chain into the larger fish, birds and humans. The Raritan Bay, where this slag is located, is a regionally important area that is used by thousands of boaters, water-skiers, bird watchers, swimmers and sportsmen who fish and crab recreationally and commercially.
Recognizing this health hazard after careful review of all possible options, the United States Environmental Protection Agency has released their option for a cleanup plan calling for total removal of the toxic materials. Tthis plan will permanently solve the problem by fully removing the slag and contaminated sediments from the Raritan Bayshore and is the only option that will fix the problem, protect the entire community, restore property values and protect fisheries. However, USEPA's selected cleanup plan is not final, and can still be swayed by billionaire corporate polluters who do not want to pay for the multi-million dollar cleanup.
Please sign this petition urging USEPA to keep their selected plan that calls for complete removal of the toxic slag and sediment in order to protect the health and safety of the public who use these beaches daily. We need every signature we can get to send the polluters and their supporters a message loud and clear. We demand this area be fully cleaned of all the toxic slag and contaminated sediments if we hope to make this plan a reality. The polluter National Lead and its billionaire owner have publicly stated they will fight any plan and any attempts to hold them accountable for their pollution. Please sign the petition and stand against the billionaires and corporate polluters who don't care who they hurt in order to make even more profits at the expense of the public good and a clean environment.
We need to support the USEPA’s plan to clean and restore the Laurence Harbor beach, Sayreville Jetty, and environmentally sensitive Margaret’s Creek wetlands so the public can swim and fish safely once again!