The price of progress: One state's toxic legacy.

Community built on the former MC Canfield
& Sons 
toxic Superfund site.

This documentary, in the form of a Google Map, tracks the toxic Superfund history of one of the 13 original colonies on its path to becoming the 7th leading U.S. state in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). What this map does is match up specific Superfund site locations with the rates for cancer and Autism. New Jersey, known as "The Garden State," at only 8,729 sq. miles is the 11th most populated state in the union, has the largest volume of Superfund sites in the nation, and ranks high in cancer and Autism rates.  It is also known for its yearly flooding that spreads the pollutants down river. Yet, the federal Superfund has been bankrupt since 2001 leaving many of these cleanup projects incomplete or barely started. Then hit with the devastating affects of the 2008 fiscal collapse,and  the 2013 budget sequestration as a result of many years of political obstructionism in Washington. To make matters worse, Hurricane Sandy, the worst storm to ever hit New Jersey, likely spread the toxic contaminants even further.

As you will see, the areas with the most toxic sites in New Jersey just happen to be along U.S. Route 1, the very path that George Washington and his troops used to escape the British. Many of these toxic sites are the result of smelting, and as a result are locations that have a long history of manufacturing. Thus the contamination was passed through several owners who themselves limited their assumed liabilities by selling the land to someone else. Eventually the toxicity levels became so dangerous that action had to be taken. Some landowners and manufacturers did the right thing by cleaning up their land, while others conveniently went bankrupt and left the problem to the government to clean up. Others had to be forced by the government to clean up their toxic mess.

According to Science Daily's article Higher Levels of Several Toxic Metals Found in Children With Autism reported "In a recently published study in the journal Biological Trace Element  Research, Arizona State University researchers report children with autism had higher levels of several toxic metals in their blood and urine compared to typical children."  Which would explain the article N.J. still ranks high in autism rate, report says, which reports "Autism rates continue to soar nationwide and New Jersey remains near the top of the list, with roughly 2 percent of children -- or about 1 in 50 -- diagnosed with the disorder, according to data the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released today."

The Spence Farm

EPA -- The Spence Farm site covers about 83 acres in Plumsted Township, 2 miles northeast of New Egypt. From the 1950s to the 1970s, hazardous wastes in drums, bulk, and free-flowing liquid form were disposed of in approximately 20 acres of wooded and low-lying areas of the site. Some of the drums were intact, while others appeared to have been opened prior to dumping. Other drums rusted enough to allow their contents to leak out. Laboratory wastes were scattered throughout the disposal area. State investigations found volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in groundwater and surface water. Spence Farm is one of four Superfund sites, including Pijak, Hopkins and Goose Farms, within a 2-mile radius. The site is in a rural area, and the land is used for agriculture. An estimated 6,600 people reside within 3 miles of the site, and 1,500 residents depend on groundwater for drinking water and other domestic purposes. Two municipal water wells are located about 1 1/2 miles from the site. On the site are two tributaries to Crosswick Creek.

Newark 's public housing (Terrell Homes)
built on former Barth Smelting Superfund site.


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