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writing for godot

Radon/Polonium Found in Water in Bellport and East Patchogue

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Written by Colleen Callan   
Wednesday, 27 June 2018 12:12

FREELANCE INVESTIGATIONS EDITORIAL:


Kids' Environmental Group:   KREET  Calls on Officials to Act....

Yesterday a letter was sent to officials, teachers, politicians and others from the Long Island Environmental group known as KREET (Kids Rights to Environmental Equality Today). 

It was written by the mother of a child who believes her children have been exposed to environmental toxins.  Caroline Wilkinson sent the following letter to Officials for the Board of Education and politicians as well as educators at Frank P Long School.

The proximity of Frank P Long school to the Brookhaven Landfill is at issue, for many of these parents and teachers and their children are sick or have passed away from rare cancers and multiple miscarriages.  The recent decision of a group of residents to do personal water testing is now providing information that differs in some cases from the test results of the SCWA. (Suffolk County Water Authority).

Fact:
There is no MCL (maximum contamination level) for Radon, because in 1976 for some reason it was excluded from the Radionuclides Rule that was added to the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act.  New York State does not classify it as an emerging contaminant and so no State MCL has been set.  The SCWA tests water for Radon, but testing for Radon without an MCL is like police sitting on the side of the road checking for speeders, but not able to give tickets because no speed limit has been established.

Fact:
Radon changes into Polonium, a radioactive isotope and "decay daughter of Radon".  Polonium, a known cancer causer DOES have an established MCL.  It is 15 pCi/L (pico curies per liter of water), but the SCWA (Suffolk County Water Authority) does not test for Polonium.  Radon and Polonium are cancer causers, in fact Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the country.  When we drink water with Radon in it goes through the stomach wall and travels throughout the body.  It leaves the body through perspiration, it ends up in our stool and we still end up exhaling some of it out through our lungs, because it is a water-soluble gas. 

Fact:
If your doctor gives you a prescription to be tested for Radon or Polonium,  you cannot be tested in New York State.  It is not allowed.  Why not?  Good question.

Fact: The Federal MCL for a yearly dose of exposure to all radiation for any individual body part or the body as a whole, is 4mrem/year  (Four millirems per year total). The SCWA does not calculate the total dose of all radioisotopes created when you drink water that has high levels of Radon in it and the co-occurring decay daughters are created...Polonium included.  They don't calculate the aggregate yearly dose of radiation contained in the blended water they serve.  The New York State Health Department has calculated the dose from Radon and it's decay products.  See Table below...

Fact: The SCWA is allowed to blend water from clean wells with others that are not so pristine.

The following is the courageous letter...with accompanying links to documents and a spreadsheet.  It is a must read if you, your children or your pets drink water.

June 26, 2018

Good Morning,

I am writing you all once again with concern for Frank P Long school and my community in Bellport/ East Patchogue.  Over the past year I have written to all of you pleading for help to investigate the cause of the illnesses and deaths at the school and in the surrounding community. Unfortunately, we have received little help and mostly just passing the buck.  Since you are all on the same email we can now hash out whose going to take responsibility to test, remediate and find the cause of the radon-generated polonium above EPA limits in our tap & irrigation water. 

I have provided a spreadsheet containing test results as proof of the Radon present.  This water is purchased through the Suffolk County Water Authority.   The samples were analyzed by a certified independent lab. I have also provided older test results; some dating back to 1988.


I have been told there is very little naturally occurring radon on Long Island, so this must be further investigated.  I would imagine you would start the investigation at Brookhaven Landfill.  This Landfill is situated .59 miles from a school that has recently found 24 vocs, pcb's, radon and toxins.  Some of these toxins seem to appear and disappear in the basement.  Perhaps the water table, known leaching and plume that was to be monitored and anticipated to grow a foot a day according to report done In the 80's could be the cause?   The leachate should be tested for toxins, radon, its decay products and isotopes.

I was informed in a recent email from DEC official Aphrodite Montalvo that the DEC never tests for radon gases in monitoring wells or landfill vents. Please take notice of the following excerpt from “Toxic fumes that won’t fade away” by Bill Bleyer (Newsday, 2/5/06) @ www.toxicstargeting.com/news/2014-10-23/toxic-fumes-wont-fade-away,

“…Carl Johnson, DEC deputy commissioner for air and waste management, the proposed policy calls for "the party responsible for contaminating the site to pay for and perform the vapor intrusion evaluation, as well as ... monitoring of any mitigation system which would be required." If that's not possible, the state would step in.”

But since the DEC never tested for radon-gas vapors carried by the landfill’s leachate plumes since 1976 or so, it was allowed to contaminate our drinking water, schools and homes.

You should also test the soil at a level of human and animal contact. In my queries I did not see any testing at Frank P Long Intermediate School and around the landfill for  radon gases or for PFOA and PFOS in the leachate and groundwater.  These toxins were found to be a problem in Yaphank  and attributed to The Yaphank Fire Academy.  Since our school and community are so close to these areas further investigation is warranted to ensure the contamination has not gone further.   Also as I'm sure many of you know these PFOA and PFOS chemicals are known to routinely come from landfills, particularly those that take construction debris.  Brookhaven Landfill accepts such debris as well as ash.   I would imagine you ALL would want to ensure we are holding all the right entities responsible for the known contamination.    That would only be right.

I have also enclosed a copy of a letter from Director Gavitt from the NYSDOH.  Based on the calculations he has given many of our findings far exceed maximum dosage.  For example:

For the  tap and irrigation water that has over 700 pCi/L of Radon-222, 700 pCi/L of Po-218, 700 pCi/L of Po-214, 700 pCi/L of Pb-214 &  700 pCi/L of Bi-214

For others in the community's tap & irrigation water that have over 1,000 pCi/L of Radon-222, 1,000 pCi/L of Po-218, 1,000 pCi/L of Po-214, 1,000 pCi/L of Pb-214 &  1,000 pCi/L of Bi-214?

Are you aware the EPA’s co-occurring radionuclides MCL of 4 mrem/yr is exceeded if an adult drinks over 2 liters of water per day containing about 378 pCi/L of Radon-222 and it decay products, according the attached letter from NYSDOH Director Gavitt?

Are you aware that the corresponding doses to adults living in their neighborhoods exceeds 4x(700/378) = 7.4 mrem/yr?  Children, infants,pregnant women and medically fragile are far more vulnerable.

Are you aware that the corresponding doses to those tested in our area exceeds

4x(1,000/378) = 10.6 mrem/yr?

When dealing with Radon you must also look at the guidelines for polonium, which is a  deadly radioactive decay product of radon.

Please inform me what  actions you are going to take for a thorough investigation of the community, school, and landfill.    Please advise as the time frame that I can expect action to commence.  I am sure given the urgency of this public health crisis you ALL would work together to act swiftly and justly.  There are  more tests still pending in the community, so I will be sure to update as they are analyzed. Please see information below.


Sincerely,

Caroline Wilkinson

KREET
Kids Rights to Environmental Equality Today

Editor's Note:

Below is a link to a copy of the spread sheet of the test results on a few blocks in East Patchogue and Bellport.  At this time house numbers and addresses have been left out for privacy purposes and also because people are afraid for their property values.

Excel is difficult to format on this blog so to see a full clear copy of the spread sheet go to:  https://www.dropbox.com/s/8s2bs40af51hxeh/Cv%20updated%20radon.xls?dl=0https://www.dropbox.com/s/8s2bs40af51hxeh/Cv%20updated%20radon.xls?dl=0

Here is a link to the letter from Gavitt.  Using his calculations it is proven that our test results are exceeding total levels.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/n95u86td04slvsx/Scan%20Jun%2025%2C%202018%20at%2010.00%20PM%20page%201.jpg?dl=0

....Caroline Wilkinson

The following is a list of people who got the information from KREET:

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Nicholas Falvo , 
Carrie M Gallagher ,
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Dean Murray ,
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All recipients of the KREET email were contacted by Freelance Investigations and asked for an on the record response of any kind.  At the time of publication only Erin Silk, from the Dept. of Health had responded.

"Ms. Wilkinson’s correspondence with the Department of Health was forwarded to Public Affairs.
The Department is aware of Ms. Wilkinson's concerns and has had multiple communications with her regarding Frank P. Long School and the Brookhaven area. We will be responding to Ms. Wilkinson's most recent correspondence."

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