Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Don’t Breathe The Air, Either

A half hour ago this popped up on Twitter’s coal ash thread:
TVA sez toxin levels in H2O are now back down to what TDEC consistently finds in their well water samplings ("acceptable levels")

Given that the EPA has said folks using well water would be advised not to, I wouldn’t be listening to TVA right now, people. But that's just me.

And while you’re at it, try not to breathe the air, either. Ash spill live-blogger LifeOnSwanPond reports:

The Ash is drying... and it's not all wet anymore.  Still no answers to the exact content of the ash....

This is a HUGE concern.  Large amounts of dry ash & even a calm breeze moves these lightweight particles around.  They settle on everything.  We are breathing them.

Yes you are. And I would say, don’t. If you can help it, don’t.

It goes without saying that this stuff is toxic. Even if they tell you it’s safe, it’s not. Remember the lessons of 9/11:

Within days of the World Trade Center collapse, someone ordered Environmental Protection Agency administrators to tell New Yorkers the air was safe. Reopen Wall Street, and bring back its thousands of workers. Reopen Stuyvesant High School, which Orkin's son attended. Ignore Brooklyn, where residents like her vacuumed inches-deep white ash from their windowsills. No matter that private tests showed the air remained full of lead, asbestos, mercury, benzene. No matter that, according to documents forced out of the EPA by a Freedom of Information request, the agency's own tests agreed that the air in Lower Manhattan—who wanted to bother with Brooklyn?—wasn't fit to breathe.

Even without testing, anyone could see the billowing cloud of debris released when the 110-story twin towers came crashing down. Dust from the Trade Center hung in the air for weeks. Putrid fires burned for three months.

"Any half-wit knew it was hell after 9-11," Orkin says. She has been pressing the EPA to test for and clean up toxic dust in her Brooklyn Heights neighborhood, across the East River from ground zero and smack in the plume's path. After tests revealed high levels of asbestos in her home, she paid thousands of dollars for a full abatement, which included ripping up the carpets. Her World Trade Center Environmental Organization website, wtceo.org, is devoted to the 9-11 fallout and replete with aerial photos and satellite images of the plume.

I’d say we’re looking at a similar situation. Given that the TVA’s own admitted first priority was clearing the railroad tracks “because that's how they get the coal into the plant,” I’d say the health and well-being of a few local residents is not exactly high on their radar right now.

But what do I know.

This just popped up on Twitter’s coal ash thread:

TVA says they want to hydro mulch the coal waste from helicopters (planting grass seed) to prevent airborne particulates.

This tells me TVA is concerned about the ash too, even though they won’t say so openly, and won’t tell anyone what's in it. But make no mistake, the stuff is toxic and should not be breathed. Keep it out of your home, if at all possible. Stay indoors if you must stay in the area.

At least, that’s what I would do, if it were me.