Saturday, March 19, 2011

Fort Bragg Infant Fatalities Continue

Fort Bragg Infant Deaths

Fort Bragg infant Jaxson Garza died for unknown reasons on February 24, 2011. His death, coupled with the loss of eleven other military-housed babies, is a statistical aberration.

Twelve Fort Bragg infants have died since February 2007. Medical examiners have ruled SIDS for one fatality, the cause of the other infant deaths remain undetermined.

Some parents were advised after their children's deaths that sulfur-emitting wallboard could be a factor. Three fatalities have been linked to occupancy in one residence. Even though investigators responsible for the 2011 Consumer Product Safety Commission report found no environmental causation, other professionals disagree.

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Report February 7, 2011 re Cause of Unexplained Infant Mortality

In early October 2010, personnel from Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc. (EH&E) conducted a series of on-site tests in two of the suspect residences. Summary as follows:
Findings: Neither Fort Bragg home met the criteria for identification of homes with problem drywall as defined by the CPSC/U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) interim guidance document (CPSC/HUD 2010).

Conclusions: Based on the observations of the EH&E field staff and analysis of the results of the in-home sampling and testing, as well as interviews with CID and CPSC field investigators and a review of previously conducted testing of drywall from the homes, EH&E concludes that 144 Groesbeek Street and 4 Darden Street do not contain problem drywall.
Other infant-death homes have not been evaluated for toxins.

While EH&E was analyzing data, another Fort Bragg baby died in November 2010.

The EH&E inspection team determined that Chinese drywall was not present in the Groesbeek and Darden structures. Whether the absence of this federally-required corroborating evidence influenced the scope of the investigation is not known.

Conflicting Fort Bragg Consumer Product Safety Commission Studies re Sulfur-Emitting Wallboard

On November 23, 2010 the Fayetteville Observer reported that CPSC field employees on two occasions had found persuasive evidence of elevated sulfur levels in two of the under-scrutiny homes. The initial report noted presence of rotten egg odors, blackened copper and corroded metals.

Sulphur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide

Sulphur in its natural state is a benign element but industry-produced chemical by products, i. e. sulphur dioxide (SO2) and hydrogen sulfide, are harmful.

Hydrogen sulfides produce warning signals by releasing acrid odors but they also impair the sense of smell. As a consequence those being poisoned are unaware of the threat. Breathing hydrogen sulfides can result in death.

American-Made Drywall Health Hazards 

ProPublica reported on December 15, 2010 that synthetic ( flue gas desulfurized)  gypsum, an American-manufactured wallboard  is and has been commonly used for home construction. Litigation documents indicate that this relatively-new coal ash composite wallboard poses risks similar to those of the Chinese product. For additional information regarding the use of this industry/government-promoted manufacturing process please see  FGD research document.

Home Insurance Faulty-Material Exclusion Clauses

The cost to remediate a sulfur-contaminated residence is generally $100,000 or more. By use of exclusion clauses, homeowners’ policies have avoided liability for these damages.

Failure to Communicate

The U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Consumer Product Safety Commission are still collating data re domestic/foreign made sulfur-emitting wallboard. As a result of industry demands, there is no regulation over American-manufactured  synthetic gypsum or disclosure of health risks linked to this product.

If the original CPSC field report findings are correct, the off-gassing sulfur wallboards were risks to infants' health. But there may be other contributing  factors.

Fort Bragg Soil and Water Contamination Report

Some of the substantive findings in the 2009 Fort Bragg hazardous-land assessment report:
Contaminants of Concern: Explosives, Metals, Pesticides, Petroleum, Oil and Lubricants (POL), Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB), Semi-volatiles (SVOC), Volatiles (VOC)

Media of Concern: Groundwater, Sediment, Soil, Surface Water

Groundwater underlying Fort Bragg has been shown to be contaminated with solvents, POL, metals, and pesticides primarily at FTBR-069 and -103. Groundwater at Fort Bragg is not currently used as a source for drinking water.
For reasons cited above, federal authorities have classified various Fort Bragg contamination sites not acceptable for any public use:
Landfill restriction - Restrict access to the site, Landfill restriction - Restrict vehicular traffic, Media specific restriction - Prohibit groundwater extraction that interferes with Remedial Action system, Media specific restriction - Prohibit, or otherwise manage excavation, Media specific restriction - prohibit use of groundwater for consumption or domestic purposes, Media specific restriction - restrict drinking water well installation, Media specific restriction - restrict withdrawal or use of groundwater for agricultural/irrigation purposes, Restrict land use - Mitigation area(s) protection, Restrict land use - No daycare/hospital/school use, Restrict land use - No residential use
Medical History of Camp Lejeune Personnel

Camp Lejeune's hazardous-to-health site conditions are a case in point. It took decades for federal authorities to acknowledge that ground and water pollutants will trigger stillbirths, miscarriages, and result in an array of cancers.

Additional References Re Sulfur-Emitting Wallboard

More Companies Knew About Tainted Drywall but Stayed Quiet—and Kept Selling It— ProPublica/Sarasota Herald-Tribune — June 2010

Expert: Builder’s New Guidelines for Chinese Drywall “Feel Like a Whitewash” ProPublica— March 2011

Five Things You Can Do With Our Interactive Feature on Tainted Drywall—ProPublica—December 2010

Habitat for Humanity Buys Back House Built with Chinese Drywall—ProPublica—March 2011

National Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Drywall Companies for Manufacturing Sulfur Emitting Drywall—Attorney Ervin A. Gonzalez

Chinese Drywall Plaintiffs Awarded $2.6M—CBS NEWS—April 2010

Executive Summary of April 2, 2010 Release Consumer Product Safety Commission

Sulfur-Emitting Chinese Drywall Blamed for Sickening Residents in American Homes Fox News —April 2009

Florida Homeowner Brenda Brincku’s Senate Testimony June 17, 2009

National Gypsum Press Release— January 2010

Drywall supplier at Bragg faces suit Fayetteville Observer December 2010

Indoor Air Pollutants Affecting Child Health— 2000

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