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Turner Station residents threatened by chromium pollution

MetalEnvironmental Pollution

We read with interest Rebbecca Ruggles' commentary on Fells Point residents' concern regarding the presence of chromium 6 contamination near the site of the proposed Harbor Point project ("The toll of development," Oct. 25).

Residents are rightly concerned because chromium 6 is a highly carcinogenic metal. However, there is another Baltimore-area community where residents are also concerned about chromium 6 as a result of waste from Allied Chemical having been deposited in their midst. That community is Turner Station, home of Henrietta Lacks, where chromium waste was used as fill for a parking lot at the Dundalk Marine Terminal.

The blacktop covering this lot has developed cracks that could allow chromium 6 to be released and expose Turner Station residents to this toxic metal. Turner Station is a predominantly African-American community just east of Dundalk. For decades, residents in this area have been burdened by pollution from Sparrows Point. In addition, there is a newly designated Superfund site nearby.

Turner Station and surrounding areas are among the Baltimore-area communities with the worst health statistics from environmental and industrial contaminant exposures. While residents of Fells Point and nearby communities should be concerned, let's not forget about the residents of other communities, such as Turner Station, whose health has already been impacted by the industrial legacy of Baltimore's past.

Michael A. Trush, Barbara Bates-Hopkins and Patricia Tracey, Baltimore

The writers are affiliated with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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