What is the purpose of this investigation?
Southdown) Quarry in Sparta quarries
mostly limestone and marble, to
make lime used as an amendment for
agricultural and residential soils.
The rock mined in the quarry naturally
contains a small amount of the mineral
tremolite. Tremolite can occur in
different forms, some of which can
be asbestos or asbestos-like, and
could therefore pose a health risk
to nearby residents who could be
exposed through emissions of dust
from the quarry. However, available
data are insufficient to determine
whether and to what extent nearby
residents may be exposed and at
risk. The current investigation
is designed to provide useful information
on the current and future asbestos-related,
thus, cancer risk to nearby residents
that may be posed by the quarry.
See Framework for details.
What are the investigators doing?
The major tasks
of the project are to (1) analyze
core samples of rock from the quarry
to determine whether asbestos-type
material occurs in the quarry or
may be produced by on-site processing
of the rock; (2) perform "reasonable
worst case dispersion modeling"
to predict an upper limit a) to
exposures to the material identified
in the core samples and b) to asbestos-related
cancer risk to nearby residents
which might occur; (3) collect and
analyze samples of dust inside 28
houses at varying distances from
the quarry in order to determine
whether asbestos-type material has
accumulated in houses, and to what
extent such asbestos-type material
might be due to emissions from the
quarry ; (4) collect and analyze
indoor and outdoor air samples from
28 houses in the down-wind area
most likely to be subject to quarry
emissions to provide an estimate
of exposure and risk from current
asbestos-type emissions; and (5)
conduct exposure assessments and
risk assessments based on the results
of tasks 1-4. The original workplan
called for analyses of soil samples
from each residential location;
these samples will be analyzed selectively
as needed to assist in the interpretation
on air and dust sampling results.
See the Workplan for more details,
and the Framework for other options
that were considered; the Executive
Summary of Public Comment Period,
Public Comment Period Comments &
Responses, and Summary of 4/27/00
Public Meeting provide information
about comments upon the Framework
and draft Workplan, and responses
to those comments.
is being carried out through a collaborative
effort among academic institutions,
governmental agencies and independent
experts. These include the Environmental
and Occupational Health Sciences
Institute of the University of Medicine
and Dentistry of New Jersey/ Rutgers
University, New York University
Institute of Environmental Medicine,
the New Jersey Department of Environmental
Protection, the United States Environmental
Protection Agency-Region 2, and
a private contractor hired by USEPA.
In addition, the project is being
assisted and advised by an Expert
Group of additional scientists from
the above groups, plus the New Jersey
Department of Health and Senior
Services. Laboratory analyses are
being conducted by R.J. Lee Group,
Inc. of Monroeville, Pa. and EMS
Laboratories of Pasadena, Calif.
The overall cost of the project
is about $550,000 (this represents
an increase of $30,000 from the
originally budgeted amount).
When will these tasks be done?
The original schedule
was for a 14-month project (see
Workplan Timeline for details).
The Investigation Accomplishments
page shows which tasks have been
completed or begun; this page will
be updated as needed.
When will the investigation be finished?
Due to unanticipated
delays in the preparation and approval
of the Quality Assurance Project
Plan, the start of field work was
delayed. As a result the current
status of the project doesn't correspond
to the original timeline. However,
subsequent progress has been rapid
and it is anticipated that the draft
findings will be available to the
public about late spring 2002. See
accomplishments for current updates.
Will you give us the results when
the laboratory analysis is complete?
The raw data from
the laboratory, by themselves, are
not informative and are easily misinterpreted,
even by experts. The raw data sets
will need to be analyzed statistically,
modeled and assessed relative to
each other in order to determine
whether these results indicate that
there is a risk. Once these tasks
have been completed, the findings
will be shared with the public.
What are the potential health effects
of environmental asbestos?
Cancer (lung cancer
and/or mesothelioma) is the health
effect that is of most potential
concern with low to moderate (that
is, non-occupational) levels of
exposure. The investigation is seeking,
in part, to determine exposures
at residential locations near the
quarry and their effects, if any.
Asbestos is also known to cause
non-cancer respiratory disease,
but this health effect occurs only
with prolonged exposure to very
high levels, such as those which
occurred historically in industries
like asbestos mining and shipbuilding.
Levels of exposure which pose minimal
risk of cancer will protect against
the non-cancer health effects of
asbestos. For more information about
health effects, contact James A.
Brownlee, MPH, Director, Consumer
& Environmental Health Services,
New Jersey Department of Health
and Senior Services, 609-588-3120,
fax 609-584-5370, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the status of legal actions
concerning Cemex or the investigation?
Under the terms
of an Administrative Consent Order
(ACO) entered into by the DEP and
Southdown (now CEMEX) on or about
June 30, 2000, Southdown agreed
to pay $246,350 to resolve alleged
violations of the Air Pollution
Control Act. The dust management
control plan has been implemented.
There is also an
action in Superior Court brought
by the Township of Sparta against
Southdown (Township of Sparta v.
Southdown, Inc., Dkt. SSXC-38-99).
The Department serves as amicus
curiae in this section.
can be obtained from Mr. Kevin Auerbacher,
Deputy Attorney General, PO Box
93, Hughes Justice Complex, Market
Street , Trenton 08625; 609-292-6945.
Has Cemex implemented the dust management
To date Cemex has
implemented the Dust Management
Plan and has met the required milestones
listed in the compliance schedule
of the Administrative Consent Order
(ACO). Particulate (PM-10) air monitors
were installed; the first quarter
monitoring results showed no exceedances
(that is, emissions above permitted
levels). Cemex submitted its operating
permit in July 2001. In that month
one permit violation was observed
(no penalty, since operator was
not at fault). In January 2002 there
was an exceedance of the standard
(zero level) for visible particulate
emissions from a building, and three
For further information
on enforcement, contact Jeff Meyer,
NJDEP-Enforcement (Northern Office),
If I'm a Southdown neighbor concerned
about environmental asbestos levels
in or around my home, what can I
do to reduce my potential risks
while awaiting the results of this