Boyd Haley Comments - Kiddie Kollege Mercury Exposure

Comments From: "Boyd Haley" shared with permission...................

The officials always do urine mercury levels because they know they
are not reflective of mercury toxicity with daily low level exposures.  The
message has to be given to these parents that a urine porphyrin profile is
the best test to show mercury effects----much better than the urinary
mercury levels which, in my opinion, just identifies the children able to
excrete mercury.  I have sent this message to some of the ones involved but
the officials stick to the old, and invalid "urine mercury levels show the
level of exposure" because it is easy, was used by toxicology in the past,
and presents obfuscating results (i.e., children who are better excretors
have higher urine mercury levels than the poor excretors. The children with
high urine mercury levels do not have the severe reaction to low level
mercury exposure as do the children who are poor excretors with low urine
mercury levels.)  Boyd Haley

Barbara Loe Fisher Commentary:
 The obsessive need to protect the reputation of mercury appears to be a
contagious disease among U.S. government health officials. Whether it is
dismissing the potentially toxic effects of little children breathing in
mercury vapors or promoting the injection of mercury into the bloodstreams
of children via vaccines, public health officials just canonot bring
themselves to admit there is potential for harm and take action to prevent
When the history of mercury poisoning of children is written - long after
those who are protecting the right of adults to expose children to mercury
are no longer in positions of power - the tragic legacy will live on in a
nation unprepared to deal with the human and economic costs of the mercury
Telling the people it is OK for humans to breathe, eat, use and be injected
with mercury is a lie. And that lie, along with many others told in the
name of the "greater good" is what will eventually bring down a public
health system and a profession that has lost its way.


Sick - but they still keep injecting it

"Parents of the 100 children who attended Kiddie Kollege say some suffer
from seizures, peeling skin from fingers and feet, hyperactivity, and other
symptoms that could be associated with mercury exposure, which can cause
neurological and kidney problems.

Though tests showed that the day care had 27 times the acceptable level of
mercury vapors, health officials said the children's exposure levels were
not extreme after urine tests were conducted. The officials say the
children should not suffer adverse health affects.

But parents who spoke at the hearing yesterday had their doubts. Carolyn
Tanguay said her 4-year-old daughter attended Kiddie Kollege for two years
and would come home "complaining her brain was broken."

Posted on Thu, Oct. 19, 2006

N.J. official: Owners saw mercury warnings
At a hearing, she said representatives for the day-care building had
reviewed files.
By Jan Hefler
Inquirer Staff Writer

The state environmental commissioner said yesterday that the owners of the
Kiddie Kollege building must have known that the day-care site was tainted
with mercury because their own representatives had reviewed documents in
her office saying just that. The review took place before Kiddie Kollege
opened in a former thermometer factory in 2004.

"At that time, the building was on the known contaminated sites list," said
Commissioner Lisa Jackson, adding that the building file would have
included letters and records indicating the property had never been cleaned

Jackson made the statements during a special Assembly environmental
committee hearing in Franklinville to examine how the day care was allowed
to open on the site of a former thermometer factory tainted with mercury.

Also at the hearing, which stretched more than five hours and drew about
100 people, Jackson said she had made changes in ranking the 16,000
contaminated sites that the Department of Environmental Protection oversees
so that the worst get cleaned up first.

She also noted that the DEP was investigating the state's registered 4,300
day-care centers to make sure no others are on or near a toxic site. But
she acknowledged that "it's most likely we'll find some."

Absent from the hearing were Jim Sullivan Jr., the owner of the Kiddie
Kollege building, and his son, Jim Sullivan III, a real estate broker who
initially acquired the property in a tax foreclosure after the thermometer
business, Accutherm Inc., went bankrupt.

Neither the Sullivans nor their attorney returned calls for comment
yesterday. But state documents show that when DEP inspectors discovered
Kiddie Kollege operating on the toxic site in April, Sullivan III told them
he thought the site had been cleaned up. He showed them a 1996 U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency report that he interpreted as saying that
contamination levels were so low they would not be a threat to anyone's

Yesterday, Jackson scoffed at that notion. She said the EPA report says the
building was not a health threat while it was secure and vacant.

"Everyone who works in real estate knows you need a 'no further action'
letter to clear a [contaminated] property for development," the
commissioner said, referring to a standard document issued whenever a toxic
site is remediated and ready to be reused.

She also said that Target Environmental Inc., an Egg Harbor firm hired by
the Sullivans, had filed a request in 2003 to review environmental
documents pertaining to the building and then came to her office to do so.

The file would have had appropriate documentation that the property had not
been cleaned up, she said.

The state has launched a criminal investigation examining how a day care
could have opened on a toxic site.

Three Gloucester County legislators - Sen. Fred Madden and Assemblymen
David Mayer and Paul Moriarity - had been deputized to join the panel at
the hearing, which did not have subpoena powers to force witnesses to appear.

The lawmakers plan to introduce a bill today that would require day-care
operators to obtain environmental assessments and approvals before they
apply for permits. The bill, expected to be pushed quickly through the
Legislature, would double the penalties, to $50,000 a day, for owners of
contaminated sites who fail to obey cleanup orders.

Before declaring bankruptcy, the owner of Accutherm Inc., Philip Giuliano,
had ignored such a DEP order and then moved to Virginia. He has not
returned phone calls for comment.

Mayer said the bill was needed to prevent another contamination such as
Kiddie Kollege suffered.

But Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Chapter of the Sierra Club,
said the hearing was just another "dog and pony show."

While his club supports the bill, he said it's a little late and there's a
lot more that needs to be done. "This is my sixth hearing on contaminated
sites this year," Tittel said. "The bill is good, but it gets at a very
small piece of the problem; they still have to fix DEP."

The real problem, he said, is that the DEP is too lax and ignores existing
laws that could have prevented the Kiddie Kollege situation.

Bill Wolfe, a former DEP staffer who now heads Public Employees for
Environmental Responsibility, agreed. He is upset that the DEP doesn't have
a timetable and deadlines for making sure contaminated sites are cleaned up.

"The commissioner did not disclose the fact that the DEP just eliminated
rules that would require them to adhere to a timetable. She is offering
them grace periods," he said.

Parents of the 100 children who attended Kiddie Kollege say some suffer
from seizures, peeling skin from fingers and feet, hyperactivity, and other
symptoms that could be associated with mercury exposure, which can cause
neurological and kidney problems.

Though tests showed that the day care had 27 times the acceptable level of
mercury vapors, health officials said the children's exposure levels were
not extreme after urine tests were conducted. The officials say the
children should not suffer adverse health affects.

But parents who spoke at the hearing yesterday had their doubts. Carolyn
Tanguay said her 4-year-old daughter attended Kiddie Kollege for two years
and would come home "complaining her brain was broken."

Tanguay and others want health officials to do lifetime testing to check
for long-term effects. "I would like to look my daughter in the eyes and
tell her everything will be OK," Tanguay said.
Contact staff writer Jan Hefler at 856-779-3224 or


 Bill to require toxic tests at day-care sites gains ground

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Six months after the state found children playing at a mercury-laced
day-care center in South Jersey, legislators are moving to order pollution
tests at schools and child-care centers across New Jersey.

A bill to require the testing and block construction of centers on
contaminated sites advanced in the state Legislature on Monday, picking up
bipartisan support and the endorsement of the Corzine administration.

"Today, we take steps to assure this situation never occurs again," said
Assemblyman David Mayer, a Democrat whose district includes the Gloucester
County day-care center allowed to operate for two years in an old
thermometer factory.

Child-care operators in North Jersey said they supported the goals of the
bill, but wondered whether the state would provide money to match its

"We knew that there was going to be some fallout from this, but not to the
extent that we would have to do air-quality testing," said Lorraine Cooke,
a Teaneck woman who runs an Elizabeth day-care center.


A list of contaminated sites in New Jersey

"We all want to create good, healthy environments for kids, just give us
the resources," said Cooke, who is also chairwoman of the Early Childhood
Coalition of New Jersey.

The fiasco at Kiddie Kollege, which the state closed in July, was only the
latest in a series of recent mishaps at polluted sites in New Jersey. The
list includes botched cleanups of lead-tainted paint sludge in Ringwood and
chromium contamination in Secaucus and Jersey City and has prompted calls
to overhaul the state's toxic-cleanup program.

Broader reform urged

On Monday, along with supporting the testing bill, state environmental
Commissioner Lisa Jackson urged legislators to adopt broader reforms to
improve cleanups at the 16,000 contaminated properties around New Jersey.

The current system, Jackson argued, gives too much power to polluters and
property owners seeking to redevelop tainted sites, and leaves oversight to
an understaffed corps of state workers.

"The quality of the remediations is poor," Jackson testified. "Developers
pursue the cheapest solutions in order to quickly get a profit from the

Jackson's proposed fixes could take years to put in place, but the day-care
and school testing bill is on a fast track. A spokesman said Governor
Corzine supports the measure.

Mayer said he expects a vote by the full Legislature in December.

The bill would require child-care centers and buildings used "for
educational purposes" to test for indoor pollution that could impact upon
children. Schools and centers would have to pass environmental standards
set by the state Health Department to get an operating license.

The state would also deny construction permits and certificates of
occupancy for new day-care centers or schools on a contaminated site unless
they prove it has been cleaned. If the bill is approved, the requirements
for new centers would go into effect right away. But the testing would wait
at least a year, until the Health Department establishes the new standards
that day-care centers have to meet.

The state licenses 4,300 centers -- all child-care operations with six or
more children. The centers reapply for licenses every three years. It is
unclear how many will ultimately have to do the testing: Those on
properties without a history of contamination would probably be excluded,
said Deputy Health Commissioner Eddy Bresnitz.

Similarly, it's unclear how many of the state's 2,400 school buildings
would fall under the law, he said.

Schools and centers would be responsible for arranging and reporting their
own tests, a bill that could cost $500 per room for equipment plus $2,000
or more for lab work, said Irene Kropp, a deputy environmental commissioner
-- though she said the numbers were a rough estimate. The Health Department
would charge a separate fee to review the tests.

The state School Boards Association, which said it was still reviewing the
bill, had a reaction similar to that of day-care providers -- supportive of
safe buildings, but worried about the cost. If no provisions are made to
help offset costs, an association spokesman said they would lobby the state
for funding.

Tom Zsiga, assistant director of North Jersey 4C's -- a child-care agency
that runs three day-care centers in Passaic County -- said centers "are
often operating on a tight budget.

"The regulations are well-founded, as long as there is an appropriate way
to get them done."

Day-care director Marisa Rodriguez of Teaneck's Rhymes & Reasons Child
Care, said she already pays for radon and lead testing and would add more
tests, if the state orders it.

"I think it's better than to have someone come back and say, 'My child got
sick from your facility,' '' she said. "I'm concerned about the cost, but
at the end of the day, the child's safety is more important than money."

In the wake of the Kiddie Kollege problems, state officials have ordered
existing day-care centers to check whether they are within 400 feet of a
contaminated site. DEP officials say about a quarter of centers have found
a polluted property nearby, but that it's still unclear whether any of
those sites endanger children.

The testing bill won the qualified support of New Jersey environmentalists.
They were upset that it was amended at the last minute to remove
requirements that residential developments also be tested. Nonetheless,
Jeff Tittel of the state Sierra Club called it a landmark.

"It's groundbreaking in the sense that we're the first in the nation to
address these issues," he said. "But we never should have let this happen
in the first place."

Staff Writer Monsy Alvarado contributed to this article.

* * *

What it means

What's new: A new bill would require day-care centers to test for indoor
pollution. It follows in the wake of a South Jersey center found operating
in a mercury-laced building.

What's next: The Legislature could vote on the bill in December. If passed,
regulators would decide how many of the state's 4,300 day-care centers need

What they're saying: "Today, we take steps to ensure this situation never
occurs again" in New Jersey. - Assemblyman David Mayer, whose district
includes the contaminated center.