Coalition Says NJ At Risk From Toxic Chemicals

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. October 10, 2013

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coalition members at Statehouse news conference (photo by Phil Gregory)
Coalition members at Statehouse news conference (photo by Phil Gregory)

A coalition of labor, environmental, and community organizations claims New Jersey is still at risk from toxic chemical disasters.

Debra McFadden is assistant director of the New Jersey Work Environment Council.

She says many of the facilities that use hazardous chemicals aren’t doing enough to comply with rules the state adopted five years ago to protect the public from potential toxic releases resulting from an accident or a deliberate attack.

 “We need to take a serious look at feasible safe alternatives and not rely on the band-aid fixes of adding more guards, guns, and gates on the plant perimeter.”

Diane Crowder is a representative of the union for more than 12-thousand health care workers in the Garden State.

She says residents have a right to live without fear of ending up in the emergency room because companies don’t take precautions to prevent toxic chemical releases.

 “By the time community members, workers, and first responders reach us it is too late. The damage has been done. Chemical releases have to be prevented.”

The Department of Environmental Protection says all of the companies covered by the Toxic Catastrophic Prevention Act are in compliance, and a significant number of them have identified alternative chemicals and safer production processes.


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