Come clean on tests - Pier residents
By TERA CAMUS / Cape Breton Bureau
Sydney - Frederick Street residents are questioning why Environment Canada
hand over test results on a pungent-smelling, 30-metre stretch of black goo near their
Spokeswoman Jaunita McKenzie said an Environment Canada spokesman told
Thursday that the department's chemists recalled the results to take a second look at the
"We know what one of the chemists said about what was there," the distraught resident said.
She said Wayne Pierce told them naphthalene, measuring 9,000 parts per
million, was one of
the polycylic aromatic hydrocarbons detected. Acceptable short-term exposure is 15 parts
"I don't think they want it released until they can figure out how to handle us," she said.
It was only two weeks ago residents were told by Cantox Environmental,
a firm hired by the
provincial Health Department, that there were no short- term health risks living metres away
from North America's worst environmental waste site.
The declaration, despite unacceptable findings of arsenic, polycylic aromatic
heavy metals and other toxins, was endorsed by the Dr. Jeff Scott, the province's chief
Yet despite the study, federal scientists were back in the Whitney Pier
to look at the black goo, and to take more samples from a new deposit of yellow ooze behind
one home. They were not wearing protective clothing or masks.
They took samples from the same place where, several months ago, a patch
material oozed from a rail bed near Frederick Street. At the time, it was dug up, samples were
taken and a load of gravel was dumped in its spot.
Now new yellow ooze is trickling over the gravel.
"We're not only suffering from our illnesses from the contamination around
us, we're suffering
from years of neglected corporate pollution and government neglect," Ms. McKenzie said.
She said her daughter arrived at their home Monday for a visit and she's
swollen, infected eyes and a sore throat.
"It smells that bad - so bad. Our eyes are that sore and we're stomach
sick," Ms. McKenzie
said. "It's scary."
She said she was recently at the site - less with half a city block away
from her home - with a
television crew from the CTV news show, W-5. She said she was hit in the arm by some of the
bubbling black goo.
"It crystallized ... and turned into a white sugary power."
By its definition, naphthalene is a white crystalline substance produced by distilling coal tar.
She says the government doesn't want to come clean about the danger facing residents.
"The government is scrambling to figure out what the hell to do with us
and what the hell
they're going to do with that Cantox report, and how are they going to soften it up so that
they don't come out looking like idiots," she said.
She said Environment Canada promised the test results will be handed over
next week, but
she suspects they will likely say everything is hunky-dory on Frederick Street.
Mr. Pierce could not be reached for comment.
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