Documents show Dunbar sludge site contains arsenic

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Documents show the toxic sludge dumped in Dunbar decades ago contained arsenic, which is still there today.

Months after discovering the toxic sludge in one Dunbar neighborhood, the site continues to sit untouched.

“Arsenic leaches out very slowly so chances are it still has lots and lots of arsenic in it,” said Barry Rosen.

Rosen, a scientist and professor at Florida International University, has studied arsenic for years.

“I think the main issue that occurred to me is the fact that children are playing in this area,” he said.

Just last month, neighbors explained how they would slide in the sludge, and play with friends there.

“They dumped on us for years and they knew it. And it was children there and they knew it,” said resident Luetricia Becker.

Rosen says even though it has been decades since some of those neighbors stepped on the sludge site, it doesn’t mean they are no longer feeling possible effects.

“Where there is much more concern these days is on childhood development and fetal development. If pregnant women are exposed to arsenic, it has an affect on their fetuses. If children are exposed to arsenic when they’re young, it has affects on their development later. Their IQ’s are lower, they have various forms of nervous disorders and the FDA now is limiting the amount of arsenic in food because of this,” Rosen said.

The city now says it’s working on a plan to remove the toxic sludge. Once it is removed, the Department of Environmental Protection would require more testing to make sure the site is restored.

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