Jeff Sheppard Asks: Do You Live in a Toxic Town?

Posted on: January 22, 2018
NEW JERSEY. Mother Jones recently reported on a town so toxic, that residents can list dozens of people they know who have died of cancer. In the 70s and early 80s, companies disposed of PCBs in the town’s mines. PCBs are known to correlate with certain kinds of cancer. For people living near the dumping site, their health is at risk. Contamination from the mine began to leak into the town’s creek. While the Environmental Protection Agency denies any link between the town’s contamination and cancer, the residents beg to differ. While the town reported on by Mother Jones is in West Virginia, New Jersey has its own toxic waste sites. Could you be living in a toxic town? offers a map riddled by blue dots, like bullet holes, each dot indicating a toxic waste site. Across the country, there are sites known as “Superfund Sites.” These are sites listed on the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of toxic-waste national priorities for cleanup. According to, the state has 115 listed Superfund sites. Yet, Superfund sites are really the worst of the worst—sites so bad that the Environmental Protection Agency has deemed them a national priority for cleanup. In New Jersey alone, there are an estimated 10,000 more contaminated sites that have not been flagged for national priority.

Some sites listed as being under cleanup include the FAA Technical Center eight miles north of Atlantic City. Another site, the former site of the South Jersey Clothing Company is also under monitoring. The clothing company used TCE—a toxic chemical—in its dry cleaning process. When a fire struck the building, as much as 300 gallons of water may have leaked into the groundwater. Another site in Bergen County is believed to be contaminated with carcinogenic chromium. The Environmental Protection Agency has not made the site a priority. Another Bergen site shows a potential threat to municipal drinking water, but the Environmental Protection Agency has also found insufficient evidence to show that contamination could harm public health.

The toxic sites include potentially dangerous toxins that could leak into the groundwater and soil. Insufficient evidence doesn’t necessarily mean that there is no evidence, just that researchers haven’t been able to make strong correlations between contamination and illness. As it is, it is already exceedingly difficult to show that a certain chemical or a certain kind of chemical exposure can lead to illness. Some believe the EPA is failing to put human health first, especially in communities where people have seen their cancer rates and illness rates go up.

So, what can you do? Become politically active. Learn about toxic sites in your community. Write letters to local and federal government agencies. In some cases, individuals are even able to ban together and pursue personal injury lawsuits in New Jersey against companies that fail to clean up their act. If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of a company or individual in New Jersey, consider speaking to the accident attorney at Jeff Sheppard Esq. Our firm helps a range of clients seek justice and compensation for their illnesses and losses. Visit us at to learn more.