The Northport Project

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What is the Northport Project?

 

An environmental health advocacy group and community awareness program created to protect, inform, and provide a voice for the residents of Northport, Washington — many whom are suffering rare, similar health issues linked to decades of exposure to Teck Smelter’s pollution of heavy metal toxins.

The Northport Project provides the current and past residents of Northport with information and updates from the on-going EPA/Teck remedial investigations, studies, human health risk assessment and the ongoing litigation. Our main goal is to attract attention to the many similar health issues residents of Northport have been plagued with for three generations. 

 

Community Empowerment

 

Small communities are finally getting a chance to be heard.  In 2009, with the assistance of Northport residents and the Citizens for a Clean Columbia (CCC), The Northport Project conducted a community health survey.  Of the over 500 survey’s returned, (by past and present residents), several health clusters were observed. These illnesses included; Thyroid diseases (116), Arthritis (127), specific Cancers (65), Kidney disease, Brain Aneurisms/Tumors (23), heart arrhythmias (8), Parkinson’s/Multiple Scoliosis (13), and Ulcerative Colitis/Crohn’s Disease (54).

The results of our community health survey caught the attention of a Physician, Dr. Josh Korzenik, from the Crohn’s and Colitis Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. In 2011 he and his team conducted a study of the cases of Colitis and Crohn’s diagnosed in current Northport residents. They confirmed the number of cases to be 11.5 to 15 times higher than the national standard. According to Dr. Korzenik this is the largest Crohn’s and Colitis health cluster ever reported (and this did not include past residents who have been diagnosed with either Crohn’s or Colitis – numbering in the 100’s). Based on the astonishing results Dr. Korzenik partnered with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical school to conduct a 2nd study. They are currently conducting the 2nd  study utilizing impacted residents (those diagnosed with Crohn’s or Colitis) and a control group of residents (those not diagnosed with an IBD).  This study will focus on the bio accumulation of specific heavy metal toxins in the participants.  

The Northport Project is currently reaching out to other Universities and Research Hospital’s in the hopes of getting additional studies done on the other health clusters Northport residents suffer from, such as;  MS, Parkinson’s and Brain Tumors (to name a few).

 

Community Protection

 

Free Annual Health Screenings:

One of our projects is to raise the funding to offer FREE annual health screenings  to every community member, which would include heavy metal hair element and blood level testing. Due to the many health issues linked to chronic exposure to the heavy metal toxins found significantly above National Safety Standards and Acceptable Source Impact Levels (ASIL) in Northport’s air, water, and soil, the free annual health screenings and testing would monitor resident’s accumulation of these heavy metal toxins.  

There is little known on the specific health issues linked to chronic exposure to multiple heavy metal toxins, through multiple routes of exposure.  By monitoring the resident’s health annually hopefully the health issues can be diagnosed at an early (and treatable) stage.  Early detection not only saves lives, but the data that would be gained regarding the health issues diagnosed and the accumulation, or body burden, of toxins that triggered it, would be invaluable data toxicologists are currently lacking.  

This information is critical not only in finding the correlation between the accumulation of specific toxins in the body and the resulting health issues, but also could be used in a long-term epidemiological study that would provide accurate safety standards for chronic exposure to specific heavy metal toxins. Each resident’s confidential health history could save thousands of lives – not only now, but for future generations ahead.

 

Long Term Air Monitoring:

In 2017, due to requests from Northport residents, the Washington State Department of Ecology conducted an; Evaluation of Available Air Quality Monitoring Data and Consideration of Potential Present-Day Health Risks (in and around Northport, WA).

They found that;  “Average airborne PM10 arsenic and lead concentrations in the upper Columbia River valley near the international border are potentially the highest known levels in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Likewise, the average airborne cadmium concentrations are potentially the highest known anywhere in three states except at the monitor at 2231 N Flint Ave, Portland, OR, which is about 500 feet from an art-glass foundry known to have emitted high levels of cadmium in particulate matter.”

Air monitoring data from 1992 – 1996 concluded levels of arsenic were 200 times the national safety levels and cadmium was 18 times higher. Previously interpreted air monitoring results from the 2009 through 2014  monitoring conducted by Teck shows that current emissions from the Trail smelter continue to influence upper Columbia River valley air quality. PM10 arsenic, cadmium and lead concentrations in the upper Columbia River valley near the international border continue to exceed safety standards and well as the ASIL.

Ecology’s evaluation concluded;“These findings reinforce the need for current PM10 speciation monitoring in the upper Columbia River Valley near the international border and Northport area.”

Ecology shared their analysis with the EPA in April, 2017.  Ecology recommended EPA, under their RI/FS agreement with Teck, request additional, long-term air monitoring to be done as soon as possible as a part of their remedial investigation to evaluate impacts the smelter-related pollution has had, and is having, on our environment. As well as the very likely possibility the heavy metal toxins being released in the smelter’s smoke stack air emissions are an imminent danger to Northport residents chronically exposed to multiple toxins, through multiple routes of exposure, especially based on the multiple health clusters discovered in three generations of Northport residents.  Ecology has yet to hear back from the EPA on their recommendations.

In December 2017 we circulated a petition throughout the community requesting additional air monitoring to be conducted in our area.  We received over 100 signatures.  I forwarded this petition on the the EPA Project Manager.  We received a confirmation from the EPA Project Manager that our petition was received but have heard nothing back since.

 

The Future of Our Community

 

Northport is one of the most beautiful areas in the world. Our family never plans to leave the area. We also want to see Northport grow through tourism and local businesses. The Northport Project does not want to scare people away from visiting, moving, or living in the Northport area. We want to make it clear that visitors are in no danger of enjoying the many recreational activities our area has to offer; several studies have proven that annual recreational exposure to the area does not pose any health risks at all. However, The Northport Project also wants to make sure the future and current residents, who are exposed to the toxins 365 days of the year, are protected so they can continue living in the town they love so much. 

 

The Northport Project’s Goals

 

The Northport Project aims to provide opportunities to educate, empower and protect Northport residents.

We plan to do this by helping to coordinate studies through highly accredited research institutions, hospitals, and universities.  Also, by applying for grants and attracting donors to fund annual community health screenings and to ensure our safety by monitoring our air through several long term monitors located in and around Northport and the Canadian border.

– Jamie Paparich

The Northport Project

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LEARN MORE:

 

– Please visit our blog at: www.northportproject.com 

To Contact us send e-mails to: northportproject@hotmail.com

 

 

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Joshua Lord on January 20, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    The site is fantastic, and the work you are doing is wonderful. That said, I subscribed, and got a box in the corner that confirmed and allows me to follow on twitter that I can’t get to go away, not wishing to subscribe via twitter. Just so you know about the little snafu!
    Thanks for your dedication!

    Like

    Reply

  2. You may be interested in the June 16 issue of Nature: Intestinal networks in health and disease.

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v474/n7351/full/474297a.html

    Like

    Reply

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