An environmental organization has asked the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to take a look at groundwater contamination around a plastics plant in West Deptford, N.J.
The Delaware Riverkeeper Network filed the petition, alleging that a Solvay Specialty Polymers facility, formerly known as Solvay Solexis Inc., is likely the source of elevated levels of perfluoro¬nonanoate acid and other perfluorinated chemicals.
The data comes from samples taken in 2009 as part of a study being conducted by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. The data was recently released to the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, following an open records act request, said Tracy Carluccio, deputy director of the Bristol, Pa.-based environmental group.
In a statement released to Plastics News, Solvay Specialty Polymers said it is investigating the information from the group and that it had discontinued the use of PFNA in 2010, ahead of a voluntary program to eliminate the use of the chemical.
“Solvay Specialty Polymers has been actively participating in industry initiatives concerning perfluorooctanoic acid and related chemicals [PFNA] for several years,” the statement said. “As a part of our commitment to the American Chemistry Council's Responsible Care initiatives, Solvay has discontinued the use of PFNA.”
The original goal was to reduce the use of the chemicals in products and waste streams by 95 percent by 2010 and 100 percent by 2015. The company said it achieved total elimination in 2010.
“Solvay Solexis may not even use it anymore,” Carluccio said about the chemicals. “However, because it doesn't biodegrade, it's still in the environment. And we know they've used it for many, many years and it's in the groundwater in Paulsboro, about two miles from the facility.”
Carluccio said further study of the area is needed.
“Our concern — and one of the reasons why we think this information needs to be acted on — is we do know some information, but [the DEP] doesn't really have any more information because it was a just a study of raw groundwater and surface water, one time,” Carluccio said.
She said the group is urging both the state and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to take the case on as a public health emergency.