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Appendix C: There Is No Away!


(Following is the manuscript of a talk given by Mary Minor in 1995 at the International Congress on Hazardous Waste.)


Mary and Joseph have vivid childhood memories of life in America during the great depression and later on of World War II struggles. It was after his discharge from military service that he took Mary for his bride in 1949. Together with millions of other young couples they began their quest for the post-war American dream.

Their story is shared with the hope that it will help others to help themselves and those around them.

"THERE IS NO AWAY!!"
by
Mary Minor, SFO*

This presentation combines an autobiographical narrative and published results of clinical research to compare the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder to those symptoms evidenced by the survivors of Technological Disasters (TDs).

The chronic psychophysiological trauma often experienced by people living near toxic and hazardous waste disposal sites is presented in a personalized account. Deficiencies in government and institutional and community victim-assistance programs are discussed. Alternative approaches for providing this assistance and to promote emotional healing are described.

THE TRUTH IS
Technological Disasters & Resulting Psychophysiological Victimization Happen.
Let's Run Away!!

The day had finally come. After nearly 16 years of saving and dreaming, we set eyes and feet on the land where we would learn the true meaning of "stewardship.

We found our dream home in 1966. It was an old farm house with 16 acres in the foothills of the mountains. We wanted our three girls to be able to hear only the wind in the trees. We wanted clean air, peace, and good water. The girls were all grown up and away before a Technological Disaster (TD) struck in 1983.

Please call me Mary. Dorothea is my middle name. It means "gift of God." It is my belief that since I've been given the gift of life, I must offer something in return. So, what I do with my life is my gift to God and to society.

I am finding a measure of peace in doing "my part" and hoping to inspire others to do likewise. The bad news is that I did experience exposure to toxics released into our environment by technological failures or TDs. The good news for me is that I am healing. Victims of TDs, like myself, suffer in a variety of ways as a result of exposure to hazardous substances in our communities. Chronic exposure to toxic substances at never to be known levels is part of the trauma. Stress related health effects are a major concern along with other toxic exposure effects. Worst of all is the unknown; the invisible . . . and that never ends! And, if adverse physical effects to toxic exposure don't "get you," dealing with our regulatory, legal, and government systems will.

Some individuals never admit the problem they simply have another viewpoint. Others become (due to loss of control of certain aspects of their lives) totally frustrated, filled with guilt, (how could a person let this happen to him or herself?), with a loss of confidence in government, a loss of value and meaning in life. They deal with present and future health concerns; physical illnesses; depression; anxiety; impotency; a sense of helplessness and violation; damage to property; self-blame; victimization; feelings of being trapped; alterations in family, social, and work relations; daily physical hassles (such as hauling drinking water); difficult economic situations; alterations in attitudes and feelings; serious generalized psychopathology; and impaired functioning levels.

These are not irrational hysterical reactions, but are rational-given the unnatural and threatening circumstances. The invisibility of hazardous substances is a large part of the dilemma. When you can't see an invisible enemy, how can life be protected? When and where will it strike? This is stressful! You cannot know, unless you experience trying to protect your children and yourself in such a situation.

Stress is a global disease. Stress and the mind and body's response to it can shatter individuals, communities, entire societies. We see now the growing breakdown of our society-things are getting out of control. Frustrations, anger, and violence are everywhere!

No one in the world can escape stress. Even in the best and less stressed segments of society, stress-related health effects are known to occur. You and your loved ones may be coping with whatever life situation you are in and taking it all "in stride."

What would happen to you and your children if you suddenly were faced with poisonous chemicals in your local drinking water supply? Imagine the levels of lead (considered safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] 50 µg/Liter [µg/L]) found at 49 µg/L in the water coming from Helen's faucet. Helen knew that 50.1 µg/L is considered by the EPA to be "unsafe" for her children. Helen and Al learned that their water is not yet contaminated enough at 49 µg/L. They were expected by government environmental regulators to just stay there and wait with their family for the toxic level to rise. In another year or two the water may again be tested to see if the family was yet poisoned enough for action to be taken. What would your reaction be? Think about it! Bottled water, filtering the system, testing the water yourself (it can cost thousands of dollars). Many pay the price to protect their families. Researching public records, acting to ensure regulations are being upheld, traveling to the state capitol and to Washington, D.C. to interact with elected officials to ensure that little "Sue's" and "Willie's" present and future constitutional rights are upheld are all part of citizens' responsible response to community TD's.

Try to imagine yourself in Al and Helen's shoes. What could you do? Fathers have to go to work. For that matter, so do wives. Now what about that little baby in its mother's womb? Enough? Get the picture? This is the world of the victims of TDs. Some of your neighbors, your own facility members, your state and federal departments of environmental protection may insist this should not worry you. Maybe you wouldn't-some people don't. Countless informed and realistic responsible parents think better of believing you can hand your child a glass of water with 49 µg/L of a toxin and not worry because 50 µg/L is the level considered "safe" for consumption by the EPA.

There are people who choose to remain in TD communities and work to better the situation. For some families experiencing TDs, the trauma has no end. Parents and children stay on and on in the contaminated community. Maybe they would like to leave. But, who would buy their home? They should reveal the presence of the TD in any real estate contract offer. This is only fair to prospective buyers. Informing buyers is the only ethical way to offer such properties for sale. Information made available allows for informed decisions about purchase and appropriate decisions for any protective measures needed. Will sellers get fair market value? Not likely.

Not all individuals admit the environmental and human threats in communities that experience TDs and hazardous substances releases. In ascribing to other perceptions of the threat to human health and welfare to their community, they also may deny themselves the opportunity to become better educated; thus they may not consider the risks or make informed decisions as to whether or not to take steps to protect their person and/or children and loved ones. There are those who may remain close minded and ignorant of continuing available information, which could be beneficial to their health and well-being. It must be remembered that these TDs are most often chronic and ongoing in nature. This may make it impossible for individuals to heal from the adverse effects of a TD.

Dealing with agencies and institutions who have power over people and who are most often non-responsive or inefficient only exacerbates the stress.

As one who has become "expert" at living with chronic exposure to trauma in an EPA Superfund site community and through extensive review of scientific studies and personal contact with other victims, I believe:

  • People living with chronic stress in TD communities may acquire a syndrome which is similar to (but is not in fact) POST Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Most symptoms exhibited by some residents in these communities are the same as those seen in PTSD.
  • How does the syndrome seen in TD areas (for chronically exposed persons) differ from PTSD? A significant portion of our entire local area has been affected by the TD in our local township-Pennsylvania Landfill Superfund Site. The following material is an excerpt from the International Handbook of Traumatic Stress Syndrome: 1993:

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Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

The person has experienced an event that is outside the range of usual human experience and that would be markedly distressing to almost anyone (e.g., serious threat to one's life or physical integrity; serious threat of harm to one's children, spouse, or other close relatives and friends...).

The traumatic event is persistently reexperienced in at least one of the following ways:

  • Recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of the event (in young children, repetitive play in which themes or aspects of the trauma are expressed).
  • Recurrent distressing dreams of the event.
  • Sudden acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were recurring (includes a sense of reliving the experience, illusions, hallucinations, and dissociative [flashback] episodes, even those that occur upon awakening or when intoxicated).
  • Intense psychological distress at exposure to events that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event, including anniversaries or the trauma.
Our trauma is not POST?
  • It is a never-ending process! - It is NOT a POST Traumatic Stress Disorder experience for affected persons in TD communities. The toxins do not go away and dealings with government officials and others are continual.
  • TDs such as leaking landfills may not always be cleaned up; containment of toxics may be the only solution. Continued monitoring and vigilance is required.
  • What is the syndrome? Acquired Toxic Exposure Syndrome (ATES).
  • The disorder is something which one acquires as a reaction to the knowledge of toxins (usually man-caused) released into one's environment and the potential exposure for self and family and neighbors.
  • ATES victims may suffer physically, psychologically, socially, economically (e.g., through local businesses, in the tax base) when people become aware of potential for toxic exposure from a TD in a community.

In an interview with Stephen R. Couch, PhD, Department of Sociology, Penn State University, I was told that I am remarkably consistent in my TD and related trauma experience with all others he has studied. He added that the difference in my response to this life altering TD experience made my story unique. How different? The question is a new one for me. There are likely to be multiple answers.

The first that comes to mind is that my natural concerns for myself and my own family immediately focused on the children's environmental education limitations. For me, the needs of the little ones in my own family and other communities soon became multiplied by the millions of exposed, victimized, and helpless children. They needed to be educated about technological failures and human victimization so they could make better and more informed decisions than we did.

The technological disaster impacting our community in south central Pennsylvania is a landfill that is leaking toxic substances into local ground water, drinking water, and streams. The children in my family and community soon came to me personally to ask their questions and voice their concerns when the area's four recognized TDs (Superfund sites) in our county were making the headlines. That's natural. I'm a caring grandmother. Laura, a local high school student, was the first to ask me to come and talk to her biology class. We began to talk about the environment because I asked her to wrap my order in foil instead of Styrofoam at the carry out restaurant where she was employed part time.

I spoke to her class in a sensitive, factual, and informative way. Our children already know there is a lot wrong with their world. They are curious about environmental dangers, especially when it happens in their own or a friend's backyard. They want to learn: what, how, why, and who did it (sometimes). Mostly what's important to them is not who's responsible but how do we change things and stop doing whatever caused the disaster in the first place. And they are working to make those changes as we show our willingness to admit the problems and seek solutions together with them.

My personal healing process began thanks to the children. How could I, a mother, a grandmother, an example setter, remain frozen for an extended time in a state of apprehension and impotency? I couldn't and did not. Immediately, I sought the best information and moved forward to assess the communities' environmental concerns about the TD. We were all looking for a return to our normal family life and social conditions in our beautiful rural neighborhood.

Did it happen? No! Often, I dream of the time when we trusted that the two small landfills in our county would be run safely to protect the health, safety, and welfare of local citizens. But it was only a dream. Do I wish to go back? Not really. But the reality was that things had to change. We needed the public officials to listen to us. We now knew the landfill was damaging our community, mind, body, and soul, and we knew it could have been prevented if only the public officials on any level, city, county, state, or federal, had intervened or gotten involved at the first hint of an environmental health threat. We wanted and needed our concerns and interests to be met; our health to be protected. But that's not the way it was. Not many of us would want to turn back the clock in our township. Prior to 1983, as a local businessman described our situation: We were to be "sacrificial lambs" in this issue. This was written in a February 1988 letter to our Governor of Pennsylvania. The local businessman had been "naive enough to trust . . . elected representatives . . . will not sell us out....." He soon lost this trust.

We're all part of the problems that brought forth these growing number of TDs. All of us should take on the burden of HEALING for other communities and individuals, before being personally affected. We need common assessments, common goals, and the best solutions for us all; HEALING for millions of TD victims depends on our collective efforts on behalf of society and the safety of our environment. In 1995, there were at least 41 million people living within a 4-mile radius of Superfund sites in the United States according to the EPA (today, this number is 71 million). Remember, TDs can happen anywhere. Your community could be next.

"Pollution causes violent crimes," according to a Dartmouth College scientist, Roger D. Masters. His study used "Federal Bureau of Investigation and EPA databases." Such crimes and violence can be prevented if we intervene in our public health practices. Let's begin to intervene.

How can you help? Care enough to become informed. Learn about the communities and people who are burdened with TDs. If you don't come to know us and the nature of our disastrous experiences, you will not be able to understand and take action. Much is now known about the seriousness of stress-related and toxic exposure effects on human life and well-being of persons living in TD communities. When technology fails, environments may be contaminated and everyone can suffer (e.g., human health, nature, personal and business economy, growth potential).

A tremendous amount of information is available. I have included below a beginning list of references. To find information on how to deal with community issues regarding TDs and their long-term effects the following text is essential:

International Handbook of Traumatic Stress Syndrome, Edited by John P. Wilson (Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio) and Beverley Raphael (University of Queensland, Herston, Australia), publisher: Plenum Press - New York and London: 1993.

Contents of Interest

  • Biological Response to Psychic Trauma
  • Posttraumatic Stress and Adjustment Disorders
  • Posttraumatic Stress...Common Themes
  • Technological Hazards: Social Responses as Traumatic Stressors
  • Intervention Considerations in Working with Victims of Disasters
  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Natural Disasters and Technological Accidents
  • Chernobyl
  • Responses to Children and Adolescents to Disasters
  • Children...Stresses of Unrest and Oppression
  • Coping with Disaster

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References for Psychosocial Effects of Hazardous Waste Sites

Baum, A. Stress, intrusive imagery, and chronic distress. Health Psychol 1990;9(6): 653-75.

Baum A, Fleming R, Singer J. Coping with victimization by technological disaster. J Soc Issues 1983;39(2):117-38.

Baum A, Gatchel RJ, Schaeffer MA. Emotional, behavioral, and physiologic effects of chronic stress at Three Mile Island. J Consult Clin Psychol 1983;54(4): 565-72.

Couch SR, Kroll-Smith JS, editors. Communities at Risk: Collective Responses to Technological Hazards. New York: Peter Lang; 1991.

Couch SR, Kroll-Smith JS. Patterns of victimization and the chronic technological disaster. In: EC Viano, editor. The Victimology Handbook. New York: Garland

Publishers; 1991.

Edelstein MR. Contaminated Communities: The Social and Psychological Impact of Residential Toxic Exposure. Boulder, Co: Westview Press; 1988.

Gatchel RJ, Newberry B. Psychophysiological effects of toxic chemical contamination exposure: a community field study. J Appl Soc Psychol 1991;21(24):1961-76.

Gibbs M. Psychopathology in victims of toxic exposure. Environmental Issues: Today's Challenges for the Future: Fourth National Environmental Health Conference; 1989 June 20-23; San Antonio, Texas; p 257-64.

Glendinning C. When Technology Wounds: The Human Consequences of Progress. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc.; 1990.

Masters RD. Dartmouth College Public Records: U.S. Government (EPA), Pennsylvania (DER), & Local.

Montague P. Rachel's Environmental Health Weekly.

Kroll-Smith S. As if exposure to toxins were not enough: the social and cultural system as a secondary stressor. Environ Health Perspect 1991;95:61-6.

Sherman JD. Chemical Exposure and Disease: Diagnostic and Investigative Techniques. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Scientific Publishing Co., Inc.

Vyner HM. Invisible Trauma: Psychosocial Effects of Invisible Environmental Contaminants. Lexington, MA: D.C. Health & Co.; 1988.

Citizens Urge Rescue of the Environment (CURE) Library

Being informed and alert allows us to make the best choices and changes needed to protect our future and that of our children.

You may not be aware of how close you and your own loved ones are to becoming names on the lists of victims (growing by the minute) in the government registries of persons exposed to toxic substances resulting from TDs.

This is serious business. Some of these hazardous substances enter the human body and take up permanent residence in tissues and organs. For those individuals in toxic pathways, "there is no away"; nowhere to run. Exposed persons may carry bioaccumulating toxins in their bodies indefinitely. Victimization is more of a concern today than yesterday. How can we protect ourselves and our children?

Education. Educate ourselves, our children, the bureaucracy, and appointed and elected public servants. We will never be aware of all toxins present or released in our environment. Pure is gone forever. We can admit we have a serious problem; a flawed system of priorities. Choosing what we need and trying to do the best to our ability to make and use the things we consume safely will help. How can we participate in fostering the end to unnecessary use of technologies which are known to fail and bring disaster to human life? What we want and what we need can be very different. Better choices are in order for society, because millions are suffer ng unnecessarily. We want too many things which we do not need and now that we have them do not know what to do with them. Conserving energy could prevent the need for more nuclear power plants like Three Mile Island or Chernobyl. As we tender care to the present victims of TDs could we not practice conservatism and lessen tomorrow's growing registry of exposed persons? Finding a better way than throw away is a must for a safer environment. "Away" is a place we will have to try and clean up someday; like the leaking landfill in my community.

If you have been a TD victim, I know your pain. I weep with you for your adversely affected quality of life. Your sleepless nights are understood by me. You understand me. I know your frustrations. On the other hand, I am experiencing a measure of HEALING with my family and community. What encouragement! There were times when I saw very little "light at the end of the tunnel." Will I ever completely HEAL? Maybe. Maybe not. I am joyful for my degree of wellness today. I look for a better tomorrow. Scientific studies have shown that TD victims may show serious psychopathological dysfunction. The public has the right to know that groups studied were adversely affected and that "for about half the subjects (studied), functioning levels were seriously impaired (Gibbs, Margaret, 1989)." With the aid of such studies, we can predict the affects of TDs. If we can predict such disastrous affects, we can and should move to prevent them. We cannot afford NOT to adopt preventative measures for the common good.

Such groups of victimized persons are not health segments of society. Unhealthy people means human suffering and economic loss, which affects us all.

If your life has not been shattered by a TD and related exposure, I am happy for you. I hope it never happens to you.

For the victims and those yet untouched, I say we need to continue to look for solutions to environmental contamination and preventive measures and act to implement them. TDs do not have to happen. Because of you who know and share my losses and those of you who care enough to come to our aid in communities which need help in HEALING, I write this paper.

In the HEALING experience the helped and the helpers will benefit. We can lessen future victimization by acting to change our system. We should further study and acknowledge general psychopathology as an effect of TDs. The EPA, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and other government institutions have historically been largely in the "dark" on this subject. Shall we "turn on the light" and show the need for health intervention for these "wounded millions."

Only if society admits the present lie about the victimization resulting from TDs and the vast number of suffering individuals can the process of HEALING expand to include all. If this does not happen soon, will the breakdown of our country be beyond repair? I was taught from childhood that a peaceful and healthy mind is a must for a healthy body.

I share this story because of you who can help and those who need help. You have read it. Do you believe? Do you care enough to help? I have learned and am doing my part. May readers learn theirs.

Peace be with you.

Mary

"Remember - for evil to triumph, it is necessary only for good men to do nothing."

- Edmund Burke

Note: Except for the author and her family, names of individuals have been changed.

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Update

Since December 1993, a multidisciplinary research team has been investigating stress within our community. Sociologist, Stephen R. Couch, PhD, and psychologist, Jeffrey D. Kindler, PhD, are exploring community interventions to pilot in our community.

In April 1995, at the invitation of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the Keystone Landfill Task Force (Steering Committee), the ATSDR began to investigate a new agency involvement approach with out community. The 2-day procedure included 2 covered dish dinners and informal dialogue. ATSDR came and listened to our concerns in detail. These concerns led to the development of new objectives and a resurgence of cautious hope among community participants.

The author, with her husband, three daughters and elderly mother, lived in rural Pennsylvania in the area of a landfill leaking toxic substances (an EPA Superfund site). She served as president of Citizens Urge Rescue of the Environment (CURE), the Victim's Academic Network (VAN) and CITIZEN; a member of the Union Township Planning Commission, the Keystone Landfill Task Force (TF), People Against Contamination of the Environment (PACE), and Union Township RESOURCE Committee, and other community service. She is also a certified Pennsylvania Municipal Landfill Inspector.

May 23, 1995
Quote on blood disorders near Superfund sites
Following is a portion of the testimony of Barry L. Johnson, PhD, Assistant Surgeon General, Assistant Administrator for ATSDR, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, given before the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Hazardous Material Committee on Commerce, U.S. House of Representatives:

Cancer and Immune System Function

"Blood samples from approximately 6,000 persons who live near 10 hazardous waste sites showed an increased rate of an unusual production of abnormal blood cells that has been associated with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Thus far these observations have been predominantly among people who were potentially exposed to volatile organic compounds."

May 17, 1995
Polycythemia vera (a rare blood disorder)
Mary's husband, Joseph, had been diagnosed with polycythemia vera (PV). He has begun chemotherapy (drugs to kill extra blood cells in the body) and presently the disease is in "control." Doctors say there will be no remission. More research needs to be done.

Joseph and Mary had thought to live out their days in their dream house. In May 1996, 30 years later, they left their dream home to another family: Roy, Elizabeth, and son Noah. They finally had had to downsize to a small stone house not far away because of age, ill health, and economic circumstances. Stewardship of their beloved "Minor's Folly" (named by their three daughters in 1966) was given over by old friends to new friends who share in common devotions to responsible stewardship of creation and commitment to county service.

We need to remember the Keystone Sanitation Landfill disaster to better define our system's weaknesses and strengths. The children will always need to such stories. Their informed choices depend on keeping the memory of struggles for justice alive. Joseph and Mary experienced technological disasters and resulting economic devastation. They are grateful to serve and are devoted to helping others avoid such experiences.

CURE Adopts Education Committee (Victim's Academic Network [VAN])

VAN Mission Statement

The Victim's Academic Network was formed in response to the need for the education of citizens, governments, and other institutions to bring about awareness of the dangers of environmental contamination. This group is networking with others to implement educational programs and presentations.

IN MEMORIAM:

Marianna Cates
New Paltz, New York, died on June 21, 1995. She was co-chair of CURE and VAN Education Committee, and Founders and Executive Director of the Cancer Awareness Coalition.

Herbert Lee Green
Fairfield, Pennsylvania, died suddenly on March 16, 1995. He was mentor and friend of CURE and countless other citizens who sought environmental justice. He was a former employee of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources.

We mourn our loss and continue to work, inspired by their example.

"Justice will not come . . .
until those who are not injured
are as indignant as those who are."

- Thucydides

Following is a list of some things we can do:

  • Take action and encourage others to aid victims of TDs.
  • Support timely, multidisciplinary mitigation actions for TD communities.
  • Intervene by caring, sharing, planning, implementing, teaching, guiding, learning about experiences for victims.
  • Promote a better way than throwaway.
  • Reduce use of toxic substances.
  • Admit the facts about TD victimization
  • Insist on honest health, chemical, and environmental reporting.
  • Love those affected by TDs enough to act socially, politically, economically.
  • Support scientific reviews of existing studies and support further health studies.
  • Help victims who have lost control of their environment regain power.
  • Recognize that victims of TDs may need self-implemented solutions to help with the healing process.
  • Acknowledge the normalcy and predictability of people's actions in light of their stressed lives.
  • Work for social change to educate ourselves and our children about TDs and environmental degradation and victimization.
  • Stop acceleration of TDs and resulting victimization, societal breakdown, and
    environmental degradation.

Let the shared task of HEALING begin!

  • Commit to personal action.
  • Hope that others see the change and take action to facilitate it.

Most recently, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Citizens Urge Rescue of the Environment (CURE), and representatives from Penn State University met in Arlington, Virginia, November 16, 1998, to discuss the Keystone community's ongoing concerns about stress related to the Keystone Sanitation Landfill Superfund Site. Presentations were made by Mary Minor, CURE, and Reverend Julian Hall, Trinity United Church of Christ, on the community perspective of living near a Superfund site; by Stephen Couch, PhD, Penn State University, Center for Environment and Community, on the predictability of adverse effects to human health and quality of life in chronic technological disasters, human and economic costs, ideas on how to mitigate trauma to communities, and community empowerment; by Maureen Lichtveld, MD, MPH, ATSDR, on ATSDR's Psychological Effects Initiative; and Pam Tucker, MD, ATSDR, on the psychobiological effects of stress, the current state of science and data gaps, case studies and lessons learned, and a training module developed for public health officials.

The one-day meeting included Mary Minor retelling the story of the Keystone Landfill disaster. Following this introduction, an open multiperspective discuss n ensued on outreach, education, and pro-active intervention on the stress-related health effects, as well as the social dimensions, for communities located near Superfund sites. The science of stress-related effects was shared and a dialogue was begun on stress and the development of partnerships to help implement stress-intervention programs. New goals were set for relieving the chronic problems of the Keystone Landfill and reducing the chronic stress of the Keystone community.

By the end of the meeting, the group had agreed upon a number of "next steps" focused on the continued healing of the Keystone Landfill Superfund Site community. Following is a list of some of the next steps and a progress report:

  • Recognize stress as a major health concern,
  • Determine if Keystone is candidate for an ATSDR community-based demonstration project,
  • Open communication with Mary Minor concerning her presentation and the community's participation in the meeting,
  • Develop a means to incorporate psychological stress into risk assessments and public health evaluations,
  • Identify instruments to measure the success of programs,
  • Establish a working museum or archive of the Keystone Incident, and
  • Complete a community needs assessment.

In addition, the Community Stress Task Force (CSTF) subcommittee was formed, with representatives from CURE, Penn State University, EPA, and ATSDR, to support the sharing of the story of the Keystone Landfill Disaster to inspire others to take responsibility to ensure the well-being of our environment, to provide education, and to raise public awareness. The CSTF is focusing on the goal to build and maintain a library/archives, to write documentation and history, to begin outreach efforts and the production of educational materials and activities.

During the summer months of 1999, several meetings have been held in the community. The program, sponsored by CURE and the CSTF, initiated the organization and preservation of materials contained in the CURE archives to make them more readily accessible to community members. The program also developed a plan on how to use archived materials to develop research and educational activities, and continue the implementation of initial educational activities. A video is planned to document the Keystone Incident and give an historical account. Also, through Penn State University, an internship program began in July 1999.


*SFO = Secular Franciscan Order. Mrs. Minor is a professed member of the SFO, which is an organization that works for social justice and the resolution of other issues according to the dictates of their faith.

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