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News Release

 
   PO 360
   Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

   For Release:
  January 9, 2002

George T. DiFerdinando, Jr., MD, MPH
Acting Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Laura Otterbourg or Dennis McGowan
609-984-7160


Draft Public Health Consultation Released
on Mile Run Brook in Middlesex County

   

TRENTON - The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) have released for public comment a public health consultation on Mile Run Brook, a publicly accessible area of wetlands located downstream of Rhodia, Inc., a manufacturer of specialty chemicals located in New Brunswick.

The draft consultation concludes that although soil and water samples from Mile Run Brook contained contaminants at levels above health screening guidelines, it is unlikely that people will come in contact with the contaminants in large enough quantities to affect their health. The agencies' assessment that these known exposures do not pose an apparent public health hazard, however, is based on limited sampling and could change with the availability of new data from either the Rhodia, Inc. site or Mile Run Brook.

The DHSS and ATSDR are recommending that, as a precaution, persons entering the Mile Run Brook area should minimize contact with contaminated soil, sediment and surface water, and that appropriate clothing and equipment should be used to limit skin exposure by volunteers who participate in clean-up activities there. The DHSS and ATSDR are also recommending that children should avoid unnecessary contact with soil and water along Mile Run Brook. They note the area also contains many physical hazards that should be avoided by both children and adults.

To evaluate potential public health implications associated with the Rhodia, Inc. site, soil, sediment and surface water samples were taken along the banks of Mile Run Brook and analyzed. Soil samples were found to contain several polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), arsenic, cadmium, and lead at levels above health screening guidelines. Testing of surface water samples detected trichloroethene and methylene chloride at levels above New Jersey standards. Camphor, a common component of cosmetic and pharmaceutical products, was also found at low levels in soil and surface water samples.

The public is invited to submit written comments on the draft health consultation through February 9, 2002, to: New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, Consumer and Environmental Health Services, P.O. Box 369, Trenton NJ 08625-0369.

Copies of the document and an accompanying citizens' guide are available for public review at the Middlesex County Public Health Department, JFK Square, 5th Floor in New Brunswick; the New Brunswick Public Library at 60 Livingston Street; the Franklin Township Health Department at 935 Hamilton Street; and Franklin Public Library at 485 Demott Lane. Copies may also be obtained by calling the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services at 609-588-3120, or by visiting the department's web site at www.state.nj.us/health.

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Department of Health and Senior Services
P. O. Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

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