ACTION ALERT: Army Base Poisoning Michigan’s Water and Air

July 14th, 2016 - by admin

Laura Olah / Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger (CSWAB) – 2016-07-14 21:46:52

Army Testing Confirms Mercury Still High in Lake Wisconsin
Laura Olah / Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger

(July 14, 2016) — In 2003, Gruber’s Grove Bay on Lake Wisconsin was placed on the federal list of Impaired Waters pursuant to the Clean Water Act. Despite two previous dredging actions, the bay remains one of the most highly contaminated sediment sites in the State of Wisconsin.

This winter, the Army at Badger Army Ammunition Plant completed a sediment sampling project to delineate and quantify the residual soft sediments and mercury concentrations in Gruber’s Grove Bay.

The results show that approximately 15.84 acres of the 25-acre bay contain mercury-impacted sediment at concentrations exceeding 0.36 parts per million (ppm), a cleanup goal based on concentrations found elsewhere in the river. By comparison, the lowest effect level for mercury that is protective of aquatic life is only 0.2 ppm, according to DNR guidelines.

The Army sediment study was limited to only mercury, omitting 18 other known contaminants caused by the discharge of process and sanitary wastewater during the plant’s active productions years. These include lead, copper, arsenic, ammonia, nitroglycerine, PCBs and methylmercury – the most toxic form of mercury. Methylmercury bioconcentrates in fish and the food chain, posing a risk to human health.

The Army will be holding a public informational meeting on Wednesday July 27, 2016 from 6:00-7:45 pm at the Sauk City Library to present the bay study results. Information on groundwater testing and the recent abandonment of 100 monitoring wells will also be presented.

In preparation for the meeting, maps, bay test results and the complete Army report are posted on our website at

Every child deserves a healthy environment.

Laura Olah is the Executive Director of Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger and the Coordinator of the Cease Fire Campaign (E.12629 Weigand’s Bay S., Merrimac, WI 53561. 608-643-3124).

End Open Air Burning of Waste Munitions

Petitioning EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy
Add Your Signature Here

In communities across America, open burning and detonation of hazardous waste explosives results in the uncontrolled release of toxic heavy metals, energetic compounds, perchlorate, nitrogen oxides, dioxins and other carcinogens to the environment, placing the health of our soldiers, workers and neighbors at risk.

It is time to recognize that the exclusion adopted by the EPA in 1980 for the open burning and detonation of waste explosives is no longer relevant. Over the past 15 years, the Department of Defense Explosives Safety Board has certified a number of technologies as safe for the destruction of hazardous wastes, which are explosive.

These technologies are now in use by the Department of Defense and the private sector for the treatment of explosive hazardous waste.

I urge you to protect human health and the environment by requiring the immediate implementation of safer alternatives to open-air burning, open detonation and incineration of military munitions and encouraging solutions that promote waste prevention and recycling.

Health Effects of Air Emissions from Burning Munitions
Cease Fire Campaign Fact Sheet

(June 27, 2016) — Toxic pollutants are released when munitions are open burned, open detonated or incinerated. These toxic emissions endanger public health by contaminating air, groundwater and soils near open burning/open detonation (OB/OD) operations.

Military personnel are often the most exposed to these toxic pollutants, along with nearby communities.

Across the country, hundreds of communities and thousands of military personnel have felt the adverse effects of these toxic pollutants.

OB/OD of munitions and energetics causes the uncontrolled release of:

Energetics such as DNT, RDX, and TNT are classified by EPA as probable human carcinogens. If you breathe air containing DNTs, they will enter your body through your lungs. (1)

People can be exposed by skin contact with DNT contaminated soil or by swallowing DNT contaminated soil or dust. Such exposure would be more likely among young children playing in DNT contaminated soil and/or placing it in their mouth.

Carcinogenic organic compounds such as benzene are highly volatile and most exposure is through inhalation. (2, 3)

Inorganics such as lead, arsenic, and mercury are chemicals that can damage the fetal and infant brain.

Exposure to lead during pregnancy can cause adverse outcomes such as premature births, low birth weights, and birth defects. For babies and small children, lead exposure affects brain development and can cause permanent neurological impairments. (4)

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife. (5) Endocrine disruptors released by OB/OD include dioxins, PAHs (polyaromatic hydrocarbons) and perchlorate.

Perchlorate, the explosive main ingredient of rocket and missile fuel, interferes with thyroid functioning because it mimics iodide. Children whose mothers were exposed to perchlorate while pregnant may have lowered IQ, “mental retardation, loss of hearing and speech, or deficits in motor skills.” (6)

Ultrafine particulate matter are microscopic solids that are so small that they can lodge deep in the lungs, cross directly into the bloodstream, and travel throughout the body, causing serious health problems.

Numerous scientific studies have linked particle pollution exposure to a variety of problems, including: premature death in people with heart or lung disease, irregular heartbeat, aggravated asthma, decreased lung function, and increased respiratory symptoms, such as irritation of the airways, coughing or difficulty breathing. (7)

Respiratory irritants such as sulphur dioxide or nitrogen oxides can cause inflammation or other adverse reactions in the respiratory system.

Munitions constituents may contain as much as one or two percent heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, chromium, nickel, copper, and barium. Overexposure to toxic metals can impair function in the heart, liver, blood, intestines, kidneys and skin as well as disrupt the immune, endocrine, central nervous and peripheral nervous systems. ( 8)

Massachusetts Military Reserve:
For several decades, the Massachusetts Military Reserve conducted open burning and open detonation of munitions, causing air pollution and “serious groundwater and soil contamination.”

Scientific studies of the high cancer rates found in this area of Massachusetts found that women who lived closer to the military reserve and who lived there for longer periods of time had an increased risk of later developing breast cancer. (9)

Vieques, Puerto Rico: For over sixty years, the military conducted open burning and open detonation on the island of Vieques in Puerto Rico.

A scientific study that analyzed hair samples from the citizens of Vieques documented widespread contamination from the toxic metals released by open burning and open detonation: “34 percent of the population, about a third, had toxic levels of mercury, 55 percent were contaminated with lead, 69 percent with arsenic, 69 percent with cadmium, 90 percent with aluminum and antimony, whose toxic effects are similar to arsenic poisoning.”

Children and teenagers in Vieques have a risk of developing cancer that is 2 3 times higher than in the rest of Puerto Rico. Rates of liver disease, heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes are significantly higher for the communities living on Vieques compared to similar populations in Puerto Rico. (10)

Open Burn Pits in Iraq and Afghanistan:
Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who were exposed to toxic smoke from the open burn pits there have been developing serious health problems.

In 2014, Congress mandated that the Department of Veterans Affairs set up an Open Burn Pit Registry to track health affects among veterans who were exposed to the burn pits.

An unclassified Army memo from 2011 stated that the high concentrations of air pollution from the open burn pits put veterans at risk for “reduced lung function or exacerbated chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, atherosclerosis, or other cardiopulmonary diseases.” (11)


2 02/documents/1998_emission_factors_for_the_ disposal_of_energetic_materials_by_ob od.pdf



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6 03/documents/9546011.pdf


8 FactSheet.pdf

9 Aschengrau, Ann, Sc.D., and David M. Ozonoff, M.D., M.P.H., Upper Cape Cancer Incidence Study Final Report, Boston University School of Public Health, September 1991, Viera, Verónica M., Thomas F. Webster, Janice, M. Weinberg, and Ann Aschengrau.Spatial temporal analysis of breast cancer in upper Cape Cod, Massachusetts. International Journal of Health Geographics 2008 7:46, August 2008 cursites/csitinfo.cfm?id=0100960

10 g_vieques_puerto_rico_struggles_with, vieques crisis its causes/8008,

11 s veterans burn pits created toxic clouds that led to ailments, health risk