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EPA Releases Last of Data from Animal Testing at Ringwood


(New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has completed testing muscle and liver tissue from deer and other game animals taken from the Ringwood Mines Superfund site. Levels of lead, the contaminant of greatest concern at the site, in game animals, including deer, rabbit, turkey and squirrel, from the Ringwood Superfund site were compared to levels of lead in deer found over 25 miles away from the site. The results indicate that lead levels in the tested game on the Ringwood site are consistent with levels of lead in deer caught off-site.

EPA released information about squirrel, small mammals such as mice and voles, and plants to the Ringwood community in November and December 2006. At that time, one squirrel sample indicated an elevated level of lead. As a result, the state of New Jersey issued a squirrel consumption advisory. EPA continued to investigate the squirrel data because it showed some inconsistencies. Through this investigation, it was discovered that a blender that was used to process the tissues into usable samples was defective and was identified as the source of the lead contamination. The one squirrel sample and several small mammal samples that were processed in the defective blender were determined invalid and not indicative of the overall biota sampling of the Ringwood site. Therefore, EPA and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection sampled additional tissue from the same squirrel. Re-sampling indicated significantly lower lead levels in the squirrel tissue. Samples of Queen Anne’s Lace, also known as wild carrots, were collected on-site and off-site. Lead levels in the on-site samples were found to be higher than those collected off-site.

EPA has shared all of its data and the information about the squirrel, as well as other game, and plants, including wild carrots, with New Jersey agencies. Those agencies are using that information, along with their own analyses, to determine what, if any, further action should be taken with respect to food consumption advisories in the Ringwood area.

EPA will hold an information session on the cleanup of Ringwood Mines Superfund site on Thursday, November 1, 2007 at 7pm at the M.J. Ryerson Middle School located at 130 Valley Road in Ringwood, NJ.


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