Fears Of Contamination Plague Ringwood Mines, Surrounding Neighborhoods

RINGWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The contamination has spread further than anyone imagined.

Lead levels in homes just outside a New Jersey superfund site have been found to be dangerously high and that has some observers demanding quick action.

The sludge dumped on the site continues to surprise the people trying to clean it up — and the residents trying to live their lives nearby.

1010 WINS’ John Montone reports: Ringwood Residents Concerned

Environmentalist Robert Spiegel is so alarmed he said the entire population of this rural community should be screened for contamination.

“Everybody should be tested for lead and dioxin,” Spiegel told CBS 2’s Lou Young.

Spiegel is chairman of the advisory board charged with monitoring the decades-long clean-up at the Ringwood Mines Site, where the vast amounts of paint sludge from a nearby Ford car plant was dumped in the 1960s and ‘70s. The Environmental Protection Agency has twice declared the site clean only to re-open it.

“There’s still mine shafts just full of toxic waste up here,” Spiegel said.

Recent soil tests show that some homes in the area have lead levels of 22 thousand parts per million in their yards. That’s 50 times what the government considers safe. The EPA said it has removed 37,000 tons of soil and debris from the site since 2004 and has no estimate how much more is left.

“We have such high death rate around here. And one of my concerns is, do some of the adults have high lead levels?” Upper Ringwood resident Vivian Milligan said.

The New Jersey Department of Health has offered lead screening for children living here, but not for adults, few of whom have health insurance or the means to get the tests themselves. A spokesperson for department in Trenton said it’s taking the advisory panel’s recommendation under advisement.

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