According to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, exposure to asphalt fumes can cause headaches, skin rashes, fatigue, reduced appetite, throat and eye irritation, and coughing. Asphalt paving workers, for example, have reported breathing problems, asthma, bronchitis, and skin irritation, according to OSHA, and studies have reported lung, stomach, and skin cancers following chronic exposures to asphalt fumes.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health: asphalt fumes are considered potential occupational carcinogens.
Asphalt plants mix gravel and sand with crude oil derivatives to make the asphalt used to pave roads, highways, and parking lots across the country. These plants release millions of pounds of chemicals to the air during production each year, including many cancer-causing toxic air pollutants such as arsenic, benzene, formaldehyde, and cadmium. Other toxic chemicals are released into the air as the asphalt is loaded into trucks and hauled from the plant site, including volatile organic compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and very fine condensed particulates.[EPA]
Asphalt Fumes are Known Toxins. The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states "Asphalt processing and asphalt roofing manufacturing facilities are major sources of hazardous air pollutants such as formaldehyde, hexane, phenol, polycyclic organic matter, and toluene. Exposure to these air toxics may cause cancer, central nervous system problems, liver damage, respiratory problems and skin irritation." [EPA]. According to one health agency, asphalt fumes contain substances known to cause cancer, can cause coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath, severe irritation of the skin, headaches, dizziness, and nausea. [NJDHSS] Animal studies show PAHs affect reproduction, cause birth defects and are harmful to the immune system. [NJDHSS] The US Department of Health and Human Services has determined that PAHs may be carcinogenic to humans. [DHHS]
Flawed Tests Underestimate Health Risks. In addition to smokestack emissions, large amounts of harmful "fugitive emissions" are released as the asphalt is moved around in trucks and conveyor belts, and is stored in stockpiles. A small asphalt plant producing 100 thousand tons of asphalt a year may release up to 50 tons of toxic fugitive emissions into the air. [Dr. R. Nadkarni] Stagnant air and local weather patterns often increase the level of exposure to local communities. In fact, most asphalt plants are not even tested for toxic emissions. The amounts of these pollutants that are released from a facility are estimated by computers and mathematical formulas rather than by actual stack testing, estimates that experts agree do not accurately predict the amount of toxic fugitive emissions released and the risks they pose. According to Dr. Luanne Williams, a North Carolina state toxicologist, 40% of the toxins from asphalt plant smokestacks even meet air quality standards and for the other 60% of these emissions, the state lacks sufficient data to determine safe levels.
Even if an asphalt plant meets all air pollution standards, people living nearby are still exposed to cancer-causing substances that can cause long-term damage. These standards are based on the principle of "acceptable risk", and assume each state will enforce the standards, the plants will operate perfectly, and the owners can be trusted to operate on an honor system where they are expected to follow all the laws and regulations that apply to their facility without any government oversight. In the majority of cases, it is unknown whether the `theoretical' air emissions predicted by computer models and used by plant owners accurately reflect air emissions from a plant's daily operations. We must put safety first and shut down or overhaul the current system that fails to protect communities from the daily health hazards of asphalt plant pollution.
This would seem an easy decision based on these facts and that this plant would be in our protected Aquifer District and forbidden by zoning laws. However the ZBA has already ignored our town's Code Enforcement officer and has overturned his denial based on information given by a board member. Our advice to all who will be affected by this plant is to show up and loudly voice your concerns, let the ZBA and Planning Board know this is not good for our town our health and our children's health and we won't have it here.
My suggestion is to put this in some form of a flyer or poster around town; also as a letter to the editor to the Keene Sentinel for those who don't use the Informer. The people at the town hall have totally lost it and this has gone from the insanity of Clean Power Development to the asphalt plant which is totally beyond belief. It is reaching the point where the state should remove all the town officials.
"acceptable levels" are they kidding? Anything harmful to the human body and your health is totally unacceptable and should be banned. But I guess as long as Congress allows the sale of cigarettes they'll allow these types of plants and others to operate and continue polluting the air. To hell with protecting the population as long as we can make a buck has become the motto of today's officials.The sad thing is if our town officials had been frugal with our tax dollars and spent wisely, we wouldn't need to be seeking businesses like this to help pay for the expenses we can't as a town afford. I agree with anonymous above, our town leaders either need to stop spending or be removed from office for the burden they are placing on us taxpayers.
This plant offers no benefits to our town. It creates no jobs, pollutes the air we breathe, could pose a great threat to our drinking water and the health issues it could cause will be far more expensive than the few tax dollars it will add to the town budget. If this is allowed to be built in Winchester, what does it say about our elected officials who can only attract businesses like this to our town? Have we elected the wrong people to watch out for us and protect us from just this very thing? And what about those citizens in neighboring Swanzey, should they too be subject to the decisions of people they did not vote for? I can see another lawsuit brewing in the near future, more expense for the taxpayers of Winchester. This is just another example of having the wrong people making decisions that affect the lives and properties of many citizens all under the guise of promoting growth in town.
To the first poster;
Putting up flyers around town would be time consuming and expensive for just one person like the Informer to do. We should all pitch in and contribute by calling our neighbors and posting info in our own neighborhoods. We should all write a letter of protest to the paper and in it speak about the other poor decisions our town officials have made in the past and continue to make now. Why leave this up to just the Informer to fight our battles for us, haven't he or she provided us the facts to fight our own battles and given us a clear picture of what's really going on in our town. All of us need to get involved in spreading the word and convincing these boards we're not going to take this lying down as they expect. It is time to start standing up for ourselves and take responsibility for what has been happening in Winchester because of our lack of participation and caring about the future of our town. We can no longer rely on the people we elected to watch out for us, we have to start doing this ourselves, otherwise look at what is happening and who is responsible. Do we want this to continue like this or are we as a town going to band together and fight for our rights to enjoy our properties and the street of our town without having to put up with polluting plants and noise and other detrimental conditions brought on by a rush to approve everything based on tax dollars?
Someone should wake up Pine Acres Traier Park and get them on our side. There are a lot of famlies that would be effected.
Is there anyone on this blog in printing? We could use some yard saigns to fight this. Very visible.
Can someone set up a day and time and put it in the paper and everyone make their own sign and stage a demonstration at the town hall ( alert the media) that we don't want Clean Power or the asphalt plant?????????
DON'T VOTE IT INCOURAGES THOSE BASTARDS!
JUST SOME SIGNS THAT ARE COMING TO YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD!
Who owns the land involved in this fiasco??? Who stands to profit? Does a corner of the land rest in Swansea as I heard? Do abutters have a say??? We know who stands to profit by Clean Power coming in ( not us for sure) but who is the$$$$$ behind this dirty deal?
What the hell is wrong with Hann, Sieran and the rest of that dumbass board, for godsake this is something we definitely don't need in this town, are they that stupid? They don't seem to care what they do any more, just allow anything and everything to get built here and tell us how they are just doing their jobs. These are the people appointed by our selectmen to do their bidding.
I pity the homeowners out in that area, they are going to be subjected to all these chemicals and their property along with their health will suffer dearly. Good luck in your fight against these moronic imbeciles that would allow these businesses in populated ares. I hope everyone remembers what we have gone through this year with our BOS, Police, Planning and now Zoning boards, doesn't seem to be anyone watching the hen house these days.
The problem is that some of us do remember what these boards have done. We try to get rid of them and nothing happens. We all know that they have their own agenda. The most that we can hope for is that people will stop being sheep and use their brains. I am so sick and tired of other towns thinking that all of us in Winchester are stupid. Pay attention to the union leader as the bio plant in Berlin got partial approval. If PSNH can't take 25% of their power it's a no go. Wonder how that will fit in certain plans?
let's hope it keeps Clean Power out of Winchester. PSNH does not like CPD. AND CPD is not the company that got the permit in Berlin. They lost out to I believe Laidlaw.
Yes,Clean Power lost to Laidlaw in Berlin. Those of us in Winchester need to keep that in mind. Obviously the people in northern NH saw through their bs.
The public was invited to the 6 pm Planning Board site visit last night. However, they were told 5:30. What's up with that?
We just love sitting around waiting for the demigod.
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