The following letter was sent to Bradley M. Campbell, Commissioner of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.The news story on page one of The Star Ledger, dated June 20, cites comments by two DEP scientists who have serious misgivings about your department's recent report on chromium cleanup standards at some 200 sites in New Jersey. Most of those sites are located in the 31st Legislative District.
As an environmentalist and health official, I am quite familiar with the impact chromium can have on the physical and economic health of a community. We must be absolutely sure that the chromium that has plagued hundred of neighborhoods in my district will be dealt with properly and will no longer pose any health threats to our children and families.
If the DEP wishes to maintain the present standards regarding chromium cleanup, then it must be absolutely sure that trivalent chromium cannot and will not be converted into hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen.
Second, I am requesting more detailed information from the DEP on the prevalence of inhaled hexavalent chromium in children.
Nearly 40 years ago, environmental health advocates identified the severe problem that inhaled lead dust posed to young people living in urban areas like Jersey City and Bayonne. Through a coordinated and consistent campaign of investigation, enforcement and education, lead levels have been substantially reduced among the population of children in the 31st District. Perhaps it is now time for the DEP to aggressively investigate the potential danger of trivalent chromium and the impact of inhaled hexavalent chromium on our community's most vulnerable members. Sincerely,
Louis M. Manzo
Assemblyman, District 31