FOR RELEASE: OCTOBER 10, 2007
CONTACT: Clean Air for Rockland, Sandra Schramm, Cleanair4rockland@gmail.com Tel: 207-596-7168
Global Community Monitor, Denny Larson, Ex. Director
firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 415-845-4705
Toxics Action of Maine, Harris Parnell, State Director
email@example.com TE: 207-871-1810
ROCKLAND: Lab results from testing conducted last month by the citizen’s group Clean Air for Rockland indicates that their neighborhood is indeed at risk due to high levels of formaldehyde.
According to the results received from Columbia Analytical Services in Simi Valley, the neighborhood tested for exposure at 6.5 ug/m3 or 5.42 ppb, which is 43 times greater than the EPA Region 6 screening level of 0.125 ppb. For the 72 hour period that the formaldehyde badge was employed, it was positioned at stack height just outside windows of some of the homes that have been routinely polluted with diesel emissions and subjected to fumes that result in many health issues for the residents. Formaldehyde is a bi-product of the locomotive diesel emissions.
Clean Air for Rockland residents believe that Maine Eastern Railroad is creating a public health problem. They’ve been campaigning for over two years, repeatedly calling on Rockland City officials, Maine DOT and Governor Baldacci to take corrective action and move the operation to a more appropriate area within the city. Even if MER switches to the new ultra low sulfur diesel, the health risks from many of the toxic chemicals, including formaldehyde, will not be reduced, only the sulfur emissions. In addition, small particles, emitted by burning diesel fuel are a major health risk.
“These first results from community toxics testing demonstrate the validity of the long standing concerns of the Rockland train neighbors”, said Denny Larson of the Global Community Monitor. “Dirty old trains are blowing toxic smoke into the homes of neighbors and Maine’s environmental agencies have failed to conduct the appropriate tests to protect its citizens” stated Larson.
The tests were analyzed by Colombia Analytical Services from a formaldehyde test badge provided by Columbia through Toxics Action of Maine. The tests were analyzed for formaldehyde according to EPA Method TO-11A using high performance liquid Chromatography. Columbia Analytical Services, Inc. is certified by the Department of Health Services in CA, AZ, FL, NJ, NY, OR, the American Hygiene Association Laboratory and the Dept. of the Navy.
Harris Parnell of Toxics Action and Denny Larson of Global Community Monitor visited the neighborhood in August and determined that the formaldehyde test badge was the most valuable tool to measure the health effects of the diesel emissions. Global Community Monitor and Toxics Action of Maine conducted a workshop on neighborhood testing on August 11th in Brunswick, ME for citizens groups working on toxic emissions throughout Maine.
-According to the State of California Department of Health, repeated exposure to formaldehyde can cause allergic asthma. Symptoms of asthma include chest tightness, shortness of breathe, wheezing and coughing. Formaldehyde exposure also triggers eye, nose and throat irritations at vapor levels as low as about 0.3 ppm. This exposure can cause red, teary, burning eyes, sneezing, coughing and sore throat. Some people have irritant symptoms at these low level exposures, while others can tolerate levels as high as a few ppm with little or no reaction.
Formaldehyde exposure is believed to cause cancer of the lungs, sinuses and nose in humans. Formaldehyde is regulated as a carcinogen by OSHA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Evidence shows that the extent and severity of formaldehyde-induced health issues in the upper respiratory tract may be more strongly influenced by exposure concentration than duration of exposure.