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More carcinogens found at dump sites

Charles Lane

Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said Thursday that pesticides and cancer-causing metals have been found at two of the five illegal dumping sites being investigated by local and state authorities.

Spota said bore samples from the two sites, Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood and a vacant lot off Route 111 in Central Islip, contain the banned pesticides DDT, chlordane, and dieldrin. He also says a host of hazardous metals including arsenic and cobalt were also found.

According to the National Institute of Health long term contact with the pesticides and most of the metals have been linked to cancer. Authorities say the debris was dumped last July and that adults and children could have inhaled, touched, or ingested the material over a nine month period.

Suffolk County health officials say more evaluations need to be done before issuing health recommendations. 

Spota repeatedly cautioned against alarming residents but said that contact with debris "could have caused some risks. Again, I am not saying that as a positive, I am just saying that is a possibility." 

Spota said officials are conducting a ground water investigation  "because of the potential of leaching of these containments into the water.” 

Captain Timothy Huss of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation said Thursday that the pesticides were of concern because their toxicity lingers longer in the soil.  

Officials said the ongoing risk has been mitigated at Roberto Clemete because the Town of Islip closed the park and covered the debris. However, according to Spota, the site off Route 111 "poses the greater risk" because it is not covered and still accessible to trespassers. 

Two other sites, one in Babylon and the Police Athletic League facility in Islip, are still awaiting test results. The site in Islandia was found not to contain asbestos but tests for further containments continues. 

Spota said all the sites are connected to the same individual or entity and that his investigation continues. The town of Islip has placed blame for the dumping on a politically connected contractor, Daytree, however Spota said he would not comment on the investigation.

Charles is senior reporter focusing on special projects. He has won numerous awards including an IRE award, three SPJ Public Service Awards, and a National Murrow. He was also a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and Third Coast Director’s Choice Award.
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