PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
Septmber 7, 2012

Mary E. O'Dowd, M.P.H.
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

DOH Releases Public Health Assessment of The Former Penick Corporation/Penco of Lyndhurst Site

 

A public health assessment requested by Lyndhurst Township of the former Penick Corporation/Penco of Lyndhurst site has concluded that the number of all cancers, and in particular the number of multiple myeloma cancer cases, were not significantly elevated from 1990-2008. Multiple myeloma, a blood cancer, was of particular concern to the residents of the Lyndhurst community.

 

The evaluation also concluded that past exposure to site-related contaminated soil is not expected to have harmed people's health; and that benzene, chloroform and other chemicals detected in the indoor air at four residences in 2009 are not expected to harm people's health. The report indicated that the chemicals found in the air at these residences were likely present from consumer products or other sources.

 

Additionally, the assessment found that indoor air tests conducted in 1989 near the site for exposure to benzene may have resulted in adverse health effects among individuals at six residences. However, it is not known whether the benzene was related to the site or other sources.

 

The former Penick Corporation/Penco of Lyndhurst site is located at 540 New York Ave, Lyndhurst Township, Bergen County.

 

The Public Health Assessment may be viewed at: http://www.state.nj.us/health/eohs/documents/penick_penco_pha.pdf

 

Lyndhurst's Health Department, in August 2008, requested assistance from DOH to conduct a public health evaluation of community exposure to site-related contamination. Penick Corporation operated the site from 1938 to1986 manufacturing items such as acetaminophen, specialty organic chemicals, and pesticides. In 1986, the property was acquired by Penco of Lyndhurst, which produced acetaminophen and other chemicals until 1993. Several documented chemical discharges to the environment occurred at the site between 1977 and 1983.

 

On May 9, 1980 a rupture in a 10,000 gallon underground storage tank resulted in a large release of toluene. To address the toluene contamination, a groundwater recovery system was installed in 1982, which contained the contamination beneath the property. In addition to toluene, groundwater was discovered to be contaminated with benzene. Since that time, the site has undergone numerous environmental reviews and investigations to assess potential health impacts on the community.

 

During the 1990s the entire site was remediated and, beginning in 1999, was redeveloped into a shopping mall, along with other commercial businesses.

 

The Public Health Assessment recommends that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) should continue remedial investigations and monitoring of contaminant levels in groundwater to ensure that it does not pose a health threat to nearby residents or to employees and consumers who frequent the shopping center located at the former Penick/Penco site. DEP should also continue to monitor the operation and effectiveness of the groundwater remediation system to ensure the contaminated groundwater is not migrating towards nearby residential areas.

 

The public comment period will be for 30 days from the date of the report release. Comments can be submitted to:

 

Environmental and Occupational Health Surveillance Program

Consumer, Environmental and Occupational Health Service

New Jersey Department of Health

P.O. Box 369

Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0369