Environmental pollutants and health hazards in Wausau WI

January 7, 2011 at 9:09 pm (environmental, medicine, Science, Uncategorized)

 There will be a second part to this, as this only covers industrial chemical pollutants.

Here are raw numbers by corporation of pollutants going into the environment of the Wausau Area:

Wausau Paper-Brokaw mill-391 lbs copper compounds in to air and water, 4 tons of ammonia into air and water, 2 tons DIETHANOLAMINE into air and water, 35 tons of nitrate compounds into air and water per year (2008 data). 

Wausau Chemical (2006 data)-XYLENE (MIXED ISOMERS), 10 Pounds, Air; TOLUENE, 10 Pounds, Air; TETRACHLOROETHYLENE, 10 Pounds, Air; ETHYLENE GLYCOL, 10 Pounds, Air; NITRIC ACID, 500 Pounds, Air; FORMALDEHYDE, 500 Pounds, Air; AMMONIA, 500 Pounds, Air; METHANOL, 500 Pounds, Air

RBC Manufacturing Corp-(2008)-Copper 5lbs into air, maganese 111lbs into air

PDM Bridge-(2008)-2lbs copper into air, 3.8lbs of lead compounds into air, chromium 11lbs into air, 11lbs of nickel into air, 98 lbs of manganese into air, zinc fumes or dust 1870lbs into air

Marathon Electric, now Regal Beloit-(2007) 5lbs of copper into the air, 109lbs of manganese into air

Linetec Anodize(710 75th Ave)-(2008)-1068lbs of sulfuric acid into the air

Linetec(725 75th Ave)-(2008)-723lbs of ethylbenzene into air, 1142lbs of DIMETHYL PHTHALATE into the air, 2086lbs of certain gylcol ethers into the air, xylene 3251lbs into air, toluene 3473lbs into air

Hydrite Chemical co.-(2008)-62lbs of ammonia into the air

Hoffer S Coatings Inc. (2007)-510lbs of toluene into air, 1306lbs of xylene into air

HCI Chemtec Inc. (2008)-804lbs of xylene into air

3m graystone-quarry at n. fourth ave (2009)-nickel 1378 lbs into air and land, chromium compounds 1620lbs into air and land, 11625 lbs of lead compounds into air and land, 3827 lbs of manganese into air and land

3m co downtown-plant at rosecrans st (2009)-note majority of toxic chemicals are either disposed of at graystone site, or in wisconsin rapids, but there is still pollution on site-both on site and off site pollution totals are as follows, 11,810 lbs of lead, 51,284 lbs of manganese, 8,014 lbs of chromium, 62,821 lbs of copper, 4603 lbs of zinc, and 229 lbs of cobalt

Weston power plant (2009) 1220lbs ammonia, 1.21grams dioxin, 15,112lbs of lead, 41,884lbs of manganese, 378lbs of mercury, 318,158lbs of barium, 9911lbs of chromium, 39,844lbs of copper, 12,000lbs of hydrochloric acid, 32,000lbs of hydrogen flouride, 8lbs of polycyclic aromatics, 37,000lbs of sulfuric acid, 31,493lbs of vanadium and 37,304lbs zinc

Lignotech (2009)-1180lbs of barium, 1533lbs of formaldehyde

Domtar (2009)-2774lbs of ammonia, .11grams of dioxin, 59lbs of lead, 44,017lbs of manganese, 1lb of mercury, 36,623lbs of methanol, 19,844lbs of nitrate

Crystal Finishing (2009)- 5 lbs of chromium, 3 lbs of copper, 549 lbs of 1,2,4 trimethylbenzene, 1281 lbs of glycol ethers, 2030 lbs of dimethyl phthalate, 1678 lbs of ethylbenzene, 1994 lbs of methyl isobutyl ketone, 2291 lbs of toluene, 13,937lbs of xylene

GPI corp (2009)-15,058lbs of styrene

Greenheck (2009)-1506lbs of chromium, 926 lbs of nickel

Merrill Iron and Steel (2009)-91lbs of chromium, 96 lbs of nickel

By chemical, this is what is total going into the air the water and the land of the Wausau area, and it’s health hazards:

Ammonia-12,556 lbs released annually-while not hazardous to humans when diluted, it is hazardous in high concentration, causing lung damage and even death, it is however highly toxic to aquatic life and is very dangerous to the environment as a result

Dioxin-1.31 grams annually-the EPA has listed NO safe exposure level for dioxin.  It causes cancer, reproductive and developmental harm, diabetes, learning diabilities, lung problems and skin disorders.  This is a highly toxic chemical for both humans and the environment.

Lead-38,610 lbs annually-known effects of lead exposure are interfering with the heart, bones, kidneys, reproductive and nervous symptoms.  It causes retardation in children, and there is no safe level of exposure, even though doctors around here will tell you otherwise.  Indeed my son came back with a small but measurable level of lead in his blood so I know all the local lead pollution is getting inside of us, and that doesn’t even begin to mention what it does to the surrounding environment.

Manganese-141,330lbs annually-manganese is a naturally occuring trace element within the human body, however higher than normal levels can result in diminished intelligence, psychiatric and cognitive disorders and motor skill impairment. 

Mercury-379 lbs annually-mercury poisoning results in damage to the peripheral nervous system, the nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord.  It also results in other form of neural damage, skin shedding or discoloration, hypertension, tachycardia, and death.  The Wausau Water Works according to the summer 2010 newsletter did not even test for mercury.

Methanol-37,123 lbs annually-at low levels this substance is not harmful, at higher concentrations it can cause skin damage, damage to the central nervous system, optic nerve, retina and liver.

Nitrates-89,844 lbs annually-nitrates can interfere with oxygen metabolism resulting in slow asphyxiation.  Long term exposure can result in duiresis and hemmoraging of the spleen.  Wausau Water works states that for both NO3-N and NO2-N we are at max levels, but testing was las t done in 2009/2008 respectively.  They also lists it’s source as fertilizers, natural erosion and septic tanks.  They do not mention the 89,844 lbs that come from area paper mills.

Barium-319,338 lbs annually-has been shown to have a link with multiple sclerosis, large amounts can cause paralysis or even death.  It causes breathing difficulty, increased blood pressure, heart rhthym changes, stomach irritation, muscle weakness, changes in nerve reflexes, swelling of the brain and liver, kidney and heart damage.  Wausau Water works lists it’s concentration in tap water as being .004 ppm, but states it source as being from “erosion of natural deposits”.  The last sample was taken in 2008.

Formaldehyde-2033 lbs annually-known carcinogen.  Not tested for in area drinking water per Wausau Water works newsletter.

Chromium-21,158 lbs annually-known carcinogen.  Not tested for in area drinking water per Wausau water works newsletter.

Copper-103,077 lbs annually (I am assuming this is particulates, just like lead)-kidney and liver damage at high long term exposure.  Copper in Wausau city water is listed as coming from copper pipes, no mention of the massive copper pollution from Weston Power and 3M.

Hydrochloric Acid-12,000lbs annually-should be pretty obvious but this chemical is highly corrosive.  Causes skin burns and severe irritation of mucus membranes etc.  No mention of testing for this in city water.

Hydrogen Fluoride-32,000lbs annually-serious systematic poison.  Again no testing for it’s presence in water.

Polycyclic aromatics-8lbs annually-known carcinogen.  Causes in vitro mutations.  Toxic at low levels. 

Sulfuric Acid-38,068 lbs annually-highly corrosive and irritating.  Cronic exposure results in erosion of teeth, gastro-intestinal irritation.  This is acid rain.  Also sulfur dioxide, which is what sulfuric acid is before it combines with water, is known to cause heart disease.  Sulfates are tested for by WWW, and Wausau is at maximum levels.  It is listed as naturally occuring, no mention of Weston Power Complex 37,000 lb contribution annually.  Also last time it was tested was in 2008.

Vanadium-31,493 lbs annually-cardiac and vascular disease, inflammation of stomach and intestines, damage to nervous system, bleeding of liver and kidneys, skin rashes, severe trembling and paralysis, nose bleeds and throat pains, weakening, sickness and headaches, dizziness and behavioural changes. Not tested for in drinking water.

Zinc-43,777 lbs annually-naturally occuring trace mineral in the human body, excessive levels can be linked to infertility, and can affect the lungs. Not tested for in drinking water.

Cobalt-229 lbs annually-naturally occuring trace element, part of B-12 synthesis.  However high levels can cause respiratory issues, and a possible link with cancer has been established. not tested for in drinking water

1,2,4 Trimethylbenzene-549lbs annually-extremely toxic chemical, poisonous, not tested for in drinking water

Glycol Ethers-3367 lbs annually-another extremely toxic chemical, poisonous, narcosis, severe liver and kidney damage, tremor and anemia. Not tested for in drinking water.  2-Butoxy Ethanol, the carcinogenic ingredient of Corexit, the dispersant used in the Gulf Oil Spill, is a glycol ether, meaning area industry is in all likelihood dumping this highly toxic compound into the local environment.

Dimethyl phthalate-3172 lbs annually-carcinogen, not tested for in drinking water

Ethylbenzene-2401 lbs annually-carcinogen, not tested for in drinking water

Methyl isobutyl ketone-1994 lbs annually-carcinogen, developmental toxicant, not tested for in drinking water.

Toluene-6284 lbs annually-carcinogen, acute central nervous system toxicant, not tested for in drinking water.

Xylene-19,308 lbs annually-affects central nervous system, eventually resulting in death.  This compound does evaporate quickly, but it is still contaiminating air, and possibly is washed into water supplies as well.

Styrene-15,058 lbs annually-toxic to central nervous system, results in spontaneous abortions, causes leukemia.

Diethanolamine-4000 lbs annually-affects central nervous system, reproductive system and possible carcinogen.  Highly toxic.

Nitric Acid-500lbs annually-severe burns, and erosion of teeth.

Sources: EPA and CDC



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