‘Science takes time’ to determine how harmful arsenic levels are at toxic Dunbar site
Arsenic levels at a former dump site in Dunbar are not at a level dangerous to your health, according to a geology professor.
Florida Southwestern State College geologist Joseph Van Gaalen sat down with us to look at the City of Fort Myers’ first round of certified test results from the former Dunbar toxic dump site.
The results show high arsenic levels found in well water near this site.
Gaalen said, “There are numbers in natural environments, I’ve seen arsenic higher than that.” He added that the numbers seen two weeks ago in the preliminary report were almost identical.
Test results showed elevated levels of arsenic in 2007, and in the groundwater in 2012, but those results weren’t public until earlier this year.
Uproar over the city’s lack of disclosure led to the latest round of tests, but the city again came under fire when it labeled preliminary results showing elevated levels of arsenic in 4 of 6 wells as “inconclusive”.
“There are a few things that are what would be considered above what the recommended number would be.” said Gaalen. “Nothing is however egregiously so.”
Gaalen says it could take arsenic levels 10 times above this standard for you to see any major signs of effects from ingesting or exposure to arsenic.
WINK News asked Gaalen if releasing these lengthy reports to the public was the best way of explaining these results and he says while it could have been described better, science takes time, and this data is just the first part in putting together a conclusive report on what’s been found at this site.
DUNBAR TOXIC SLUDGE SITE TIMELINE
August 2 – Residents voice concerns at public forum
August 23 – Crews replace well at Dunbar sludge site
November 16 – NAACP calls lack of action ‘environmental racism’
November 29 – DEP blasts Fort Myers over handling of tests