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Kettleman City is a Wonderful Place for a Nap

Kettleman City is a Wonderful Place for a Nap

Picture of John  Sepulvado

The U.S. EPA says California regulators stopped monitoring PCBs in the air at the Kettleman Hills Facility, then birth defects increase in Kettleman City, then regulators start monitoring, and birth defects go down. AMAZING COINCIDENCE.

State regulators did not monitor air quality at a toxic dump in rural Kettleman City, during a period when there was a spike in the number of area babies born with birth defects.

According to an email obtained from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, state regulators suspended independent air monitoring for PCBs and pesticides at the Kettleman Hills waste facility in April 2008.

The facility processes about 4,000 tons of PCBs per year. Those chemicals have been linked to serious health problems, including cancer and liver failure.

This suspension of air quality oversight occurred at the same time as a spike in the number of local babies born with birth defects between September of 2007 and March of 2010. Three babies died of those defects during that period.

As of this posting I haven't learned why state regulators stopped the monitoring, although I imagine, BUT DO NOT KNOW FOR SURE, that the state thought Waste Management was complying with everything PCB related.

As noted earlier on this AWESOME BLOG, US EPA fined the company 300,000 golf clubs dollars. (Although, in fairness, Cal regulators did issue some fine or something last month.)

Tomorrow there will be a public hearing about the pollutants in Kettleman City. It is expected to draw many locals, as well as reporters/activists/other people from outside the area.

In other news, I've heard rumors that Kettleman City police will stop enforcing traffic laws until accidents increase, at which point, they will again enforce traffic laws.

UPDATE: State regulators just got back to me, and they are generally disputing the PCB (and pesticide) claims in the email, but couldn't give me any specifics. In fairness, we will check with them at 1pm tomorrow to see what's up.

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