NYU researchers study Ford Superfund, Ramapough-Lenape’s health

NYU researchers study Ford Superfund, Ramapough-Lenape’s health.
Wochit RINGWOOD – Researchers from New York University are asking members of the Ramapough-Lenape tribe to serve as citizen scientists as they study conditions in Ford Motor Co.’s former dumping grounds and their possible impact on the health of the community.
(Photo: northjersey.com file photo) Air pollution testing will involve wearable airborne particle detectors that will be loaned to community members, said Terry Gordon, an air pollution expert at NYU.
Contaminants such as cadmium, lead, and benzene have been found on site.
Much of it was found with the help of locals, who say more remains than the 166,000 tons of contaminated soil expected to remain on site under a controversial cleanup project approved by the EPA.
The water testing component will involve the distribution kits that use color-changing strips to check for lead, bacteria, sulfur, iron and more in Upper Ringwood homes, streams, and ponds, researchers said.
“What’s in the pond will let you know what could be in the fish,” Zelikoff said.
All the data collected in the grant-funded $15,000 project will be fully owned by the community members, unlike some past studies by governmental agencies and professionals, Zelikoff said.
"It is important that they understand that the data we collect belongs to them and it will not disappear.” Community members say they have been suspect of the Environmental Protection Agency, which declared the site remediated in 1994 only to re-list it as a Superfund in 2006.
Finding elevated levels of certain metals and other contaminants in the water, air, and blood collected during the study could provide the link that the Rampoughs have long maintained is their reality, Zelikoff said.

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