Archive for the ‘Kay Paparich’ Category

The Death List – part 2

“The Death List – part 2”

I originally wrote “The Death List” in 2016.  Based on recent events I rewrote the article to include details of the current situation.

 

by:  Jamie Paparich

In 1992 reporter Julie Titone wrote an article in the Spokesman-Review, “Canadian companies suspected in illnesses.”  The article focused on a group of mothers in Northport, Washington and the health effects their small community suffered from because of, in their opinion, chronic exposure to the heavy metal toxins released by a Canadian smelter 3 miles up river, Teck Cominco.

The article begins with neighbors Naomi Palm, Faye Jackman, and Kay Paparich sitting in Naomi’s kitchen. In front of Naomi was her hand written notes of a health survey the women conducted in the community.  The notes listed the similar illnesses her and all her neighbors, family, and friends suffered from.  Naomi called it her “death list”.  The list contained 45 previous residents who passed away from four types of cancer, and 163 residents all suffering from similar diseases. In a town of 375 people the list was alarming, to say the least.

At the time of the article the small community was paralyzed with fear. Children continued to be diagnosed with two rare intestinal diseases, friends and neighbors were passing away from brain aneurisms or tumors, cancer, or suffering from the debilitating effects of multiple scoliosis and parkinson’s disease.

In 1991 these determined women began conducting their own health survey of the community.  After months of knocking on doors they compiled the information their neighbors had provided.  They discovered that of the 7 families living along Mitchell Road, all living within a 2 mile radius of each other, fifteen children had been diagnosed with 2 rare auto immune diseases, ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. At the time of the survey approximately 1 in 100,000 people were diagnosed with either Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s in the United States.

The woman also discovered that of the six families living along Waneta Road, across the Columbia River from Mitchell Road, 12 people had died, or suffered from, brain aneurisms or brain tumors.  Statistically 8-10 people out of 100,000 people suffer from a brain aneurism in the United States.    

Naomi mapped out the illnesses collected from their survey in an attempt to understand if their route of exposure to the smelter’s toxins might be the common denominator effecting their families with these rare illnesses.  Their exposures differed in many ways. Not everyone swam in the river, not everyone grew their own gardens, or ate the fish…..but the one common denominator quickly became clear.  It was the air.  The families all lived in a valley, next to the Columbia River.  The pollution flowing north from the smelter often got trapped in the valley walls.

Two months after the 1992 article was published the Washington State Department of Ecology began the first of four phases of air monitoring in the area.  The results of all four phases of the monitoring showed that levels of arsenic were 200 times higher than national safety standards, and levels of cadmium were 18 times higher.  Ecology issued the smelter a warning that continuous air monitoring of the area was necessary.  Teck did continue to monitor the air until 2009, according to EPA documents.  The levels of arsenic and cadmium continued to exceed safety standards at the same rate. The residents of Northport were never made aware of these results.  

The 1992 article ended with Kay Paparich voicing her concern for future generations of Northport residents, “It’s too late for my children because they’ve already got these problems, but what about the little ones coming up?”

“The little ones coming up”, that Kay was so concerned about in 1992, are now in their 20’s and 30’s, suffering from the same illnesses that these women discussed in Naomi’s kitchen 24 years ago.

In 2009 residents conducted another community health survey of past and present Northport residents.  The results mirrored those of the 1991 community health survey, and confirmed Kay’s concerns were valid.  Not only were residents still being diagnosed with the same health issues, at the same rate, reported cases of multiple scoliosis, Parkinson’s and cases of the four types of cancers of concern had increased.

What these women discovered by coming together and using plain common sense, took government agencies decades, and millions of dollars, to finally realize.  

The EPA  reached an agreement with Teck in 2006, in which Teck agreed to fund a remedial investigation of the Upper Columbia River area and clean up any contaminated areas with levels of toxins that would be hazardous to humans or the environment.  However, the air still continues to be ignored.  

All of the studies conducted of the area as far back as 1989 have forensically and scientifically confirmed that the source of contamination is Teck Resources. More specifically, the primary source of contamination is from Teck’s aerial dispersion of heavy metal toxins, through their smoke stacks.

EPA project manager Laura Buelow stated, “(T)he data shows that the soil became contaminated from historical smelting operations at the Trail smelter, specifically the metals coming out of the smelter stacks (air).”

Ecology’s 2015 evaluation of the past air monitoring conducted in the area concluded that new, consistent air monitors should be installed at appropriate locations in and around Northport.  They recommended this based on several “limitations” and “discrepancies” they found in Teck’s air monitoring recordings and reporting done in the past.  Also, since the concentration of arsenic and cadmium already exceed the EPA’s Acceptable source impact level (ASIL) in Northport, Ecology believes it would be dangerous not to install these monitors as soon as possible.

Ecology’s above recommendation, along with a petition signed by 100 Northport residents and the opinion of the Northeast Tri-County Health District was not enough to persuade the EPA.

Last month the EPA informed Northport residents that after much consideration further air monitoring of the area would not be done.  Cami Grandinetti, a manager in EPA’s remedial cleanup program, said “From our evaluation of data collected in 1999 to 2009 we believe that the risk to you from the outdoor air in Northport is low.”

Teck’s air emissions have poisoned over three generations of Northport residents.  The amount of people being diagnosed with specific health issues hasn’t gotten better, so how is it that the EPA believes Teck that the level of toxins in their air emission have?

SUPERFUND: THE SHORTCUT THAT FAILED

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Excerpt from Jane Shaw’s 1996 paper:

“Superfund: The shortcut that failed”

 

“Even EPA Administrator Carol Browner, supervisor of the program in the Clinton administration, has criticized the program as one that “frequently moves too slowly, cleans up too little, has an unfair liability scheme and costs too much.”

– Carol Browner, EPA Administrator of Superfund 1995; Quoted in Peter B. Prestley, “Superfund in Limbo,” ABA Journal, (June 1995), at 58

Read full report:  Click here

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Superfund:  The shortcut that failed thousands of families

The author of the paper, and the Superfund EPA administrator were correct when they recognized that Superfund sites, and CERCLA, moves too slowly, cleans up too little, and answers to no one.  However, the paper goes on to point the finger at the EPA for being to tough on the polluters, forcing them to pay for the scorched and toxic environments they used as dumping grounds for decades.  The article claims the EPA does this with little or no proof of the actual damages caused to these sights.

The paper is obviously outdated, and written by an “expert” who has never lived in a Superfund site, never lived in a poisoned environment they were not even aware of, never fought tooth and nail with the EPA and polluters to take financial responsibility, and has never faced the health impacts and property devaluation, and helplessness these “poor” polluters have caused.

The Superfund program has too many faults to list, most of all the lack of finances, therefore providing the EPA with the excuse to drag out the process of cleaning up sites for decades, if ever at all.  The entire program is laughable, and is probably the last issue on any Presidents “to do” list.  Likely most Presidents have not, or will not, ever know much more about the Superfund program than the tag line they are given.

This is what the reality looks like. This is the h2Q==arsh reality of what the chronic exposure to heavy metal toxins does to a human being, a Mother, a sister, a wife, a Grandmother, a friend.  The final picture on the bottom of the collage is a photo the Wall Street Journal took of my Grandmother, Kay Paparich, as she was having an episode from her Parkinson’s.

The others photos are of the beautiful, healthy, loving, kind women she was…..as she was unknowingly being poisoned by the heavy metal toxins being released at approximately 450 million tons a day for 56 years.

Did the EPA “unfairly” rush to judgment on holding this Canadian smelter financially responsible for cleaning up the 9.8 million tons of toxic discharge they released into Northport for over 6 decades?  No.

kay+and+louie+sitting

The EPA unfairly ignored a small community in desperate need o
f their help.  However, as a 1982 EPA internal memo stated; the Northport residents were an insignificant amount of people to be concerned with.

Kay and Louie Paparich were not insignificant, and neither are any of the other hardworking, loyal, honest people of Northport, WA.

-Jamie Paparich

WSJ Article

Bob & Fay Jackman

 

WSJ ARticle

Julie Sowards & Cindy Day

Labor Day

WSJ Article

Jim Paparich & Sharon Weber

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Kay Paparich

History of Northport, WA        image

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