CSWAB Petitions WDNR for Asbestos Testing at Badger
Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger submitted a formal petition today urging state regulators to require environmental testing for asbestos in soils at the Badger Army Ammunition Plant.
Asbestos fibers found in soil can become airborne as the result of site disturbance by wind, weathering, or human activities. Unlike most minerals which turn into dust particles when crushed, asbestos breaks up into fine fibers that are too small to be seen by the human eye.
Exposure to asbestos fibers through inhalation has been associated with lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other cancers, as well as asbestosis and other nonmalignant respiratory diseases. The toxicity of a given asbestos fiber depends on a number of other variables including chemical composition, fiber shape, and fiber size.
CSWAB has asked the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) to require soil testing using polarized light microscopy which is capable of detecting asbestos fibers not visible to the human eye. The Army is currently required to remove only visible pieces of asbestos-containing materials generated during building demolition to qualify for clean site closure.
The test method sought by CSWAB is recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and has been used at other Army bases around the country including the Radford Army Ammunition Plant in Virginia, the Ravenna Army Ammunition Plant in Ohio, and the Seneca Army Depot in New York State.
CSWAB’s formal petition to the WDNR is available online at www.cswab.org.
Laura Olah, Executive Director
Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger (CSWAB)
E12629 Weigand's Bay South
Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger is a community-led grassroots organization working for clean water and a healthy future – free of environmental toxins that are affecting delicate wetland areas, natural springs, waterways and groundwater in rural Wisconsin. CSWAB was organized in 1990 by neighbors of Badger Army Ammunition Plant when high levels of cancer-causing chemicals were discovered in nearby private drinking water wells. The group is working to assure the complete cleanup of solvents, explosives and other toxins that have placed ecological and human health at risk.