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A former munitions factory owned by chemical giant DuPont has contaminated the groundwater under a neighborhood in Pompton Lakes, NJ, and a disproportionately high number of people in the neighborhood are developing cancer.

According to a New Jersey state department study, women in the Pompton Lakes area have an elevated risk of kidney cancer, and men have an elevated risk of of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

In June 2008, [DuPont] and the state Department of Environmental Protection reported that chemicals that had migrated from the plant were sending toxic vapors up through the soil beneath 430 nearby homes.

DuPont, based in Wilmington, Del., assumed responsibility and has been installing venting systems in the affected homes. So far, 166 have been installed.

The two chemicals involved — trichloroethene and tetrachloroethene — have been linked to cancer in humans. But the state health department report said it could not conclusively link the higher cancer rates in Pompton Lakes and the chemicals because the cancer rates were not elevated for both men and women.

A DuPont spokesman, Robert C. Nelson, said remediation efforts would continue "in a responsible and science-based manner that is protective to the environment and to the safety and health of residents." –AP

State officials have asked the EPA to step in and investigate whether DuPont’s “remediation efforts” are doing enough to protect the residents of the Pompton Lakes neighborhood. For their own part, residents are feeling angry and afraid for their safety. Toxic vapors have been seeping into their homes for decades without their knowledge, and the ventilation systems DuPont’s offering come as too little too late.

"My wife died of lung cancer in June, my stepson died of throat cancer, my neighbor across the street has it, everybody is dying around here. I’ve never seen anyplace like this," [Tom] Carroll said.

"It’s in my colon, they want to remove half of it, I’ve got a pre-cancerous mass in my stomach, a mass in my chest," says Joe Intintola Jr., who lives across the street from Carroll. "If I had known about this I would never have moved here." –NBC New York

Clearly, DuPont is not doing enough to rectify this situation. DuPont needs to assume real responsibility for infusing this neighborhood with toxic pollution and causing so many of its residents to become seriously ill. If you live in the Pompton Lakes neighborhood and have been affected by the chemical contamination, contact The Ferrara Law Firm to find out more about your rights.

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