After an eight-month long air sampling
study, residents have concluded that the efforts by Evraz Claymont Steel
to reduce dust raining on nearby homes, cars, and boats, is failing.
The Dust Study Report issued today by Claymont Community Coalition and
California-based Global Community Monitor notes that the amount of dust did not
decrease since the onset of the study, except when the steel mill was
shut down for retooling.
“We need real change from
Evraz,” said Dee Whildin of the Claymont Community Coalition. “In
response to our complaints, they’ve started regular street sweeping
and tree planting, but it isn’t fooling us. The air is still dirty
and we need them to fix this mess now.” Residents have been dealing
with piles of metallic dust eroding the finish of their vehicles and
homes for over six years. Neighbors are now concerned about health implications
of prolonged exposure to the dust.
As a part of the study, trained
coalition members collected 67 air samples throughout Claymont from
July 2008 through February 2009. The air samples, each taken over a
24-hour period, show that the dust collected from Claymont cars, homes
and air, matches the fingerprint of Evraz Claymont Steel’s Toxic Release
Inventory and operations.
Perhaps most disturbing of
all, The Dust Study found manganese and lead to be present in the dust.
According to Dust Study consultant Dr. Mark Cherniak, “manganese and
lead are known to accumulate in the brain. Health effects may
occur from the cumulative impacts of multiple short-term exposures to
high levels of these neurotoxins.” Evraz is the only facility in the
industrial area of Claymont and Marcus Hook that emits reportable amounts
of manganese, an element commonly associated with steel making and melting
The Dust Study Report includes
recommendations for Evraz. The recommendations, agreed upon by the Dust
Study Team and Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
(DNREC), include immediate work on the melt shop and the electric arc
furnace, the main source of operations for the plant. “Evraz is going
to need to make a significant investment in the facility to get it running
cleaner. The Russian owners should put Claymont at the top of
their to-do list,” said Ruth Breech, Program Director of Global Community
DNREC has served several enforcement
orders and violations to Evraz Claymont Steel, requiring the company
to reduce dust emissions. DNREC is referring this case to the Division
of Public Health.
A community meeting open to
the public to discuss the final Dust Study will be held at 7pm on Monday,
July 13 at Claymont Fire Company, 3223 Philadelphia Pike, Claymont,
Download the entire Final Dust Study Report.
Download the Dust Study Appendices.
Download the Final Dust Study Press Release.