Publications by authors named "Andrew M Biondo"

2 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Health Misinformation about Toxic-Site Harm: The Case for Independent-Party Testing to Confirm Safety.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2021 04 7;18(8). Epub 2021 Apr 7.

Department of Economics, University of Notre Dame, 3060 Jenkins Nanovic Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA.

Health misinformation can cause harm if regulators or private remediators falsely claim that a hazardous facility is safe. This misinformation especially threatens the health of children, minorities, and poor people, disproportionate numbers of whom live near toxic facilities. Yet, perhaps because of financial incentives, private remediators may use safety misinformation to justify reduced cleanup. Such incentives exist in nations like the United States, where most toxic-site testing/remediation is semi-privatized or voluntary, conducted by private parties, commercial redevelopers, who can increase profits by underestimating health harm, thus decreasing required testing/remediation. Our is to begin to determine whether or not interested parties misrepresent health harm (at hazardous facilities that they test/remediate/redevelop) when they use traditional and social media to claim that these sites are safe. Our is that, contrary to the safety claims of the world's largest commercial developer, Coldwell Banker Real Estate/Trammell Crow (CBRE/TCC), the authors' screening assessment, especially its lab-certified, toxic-site, indoor-air tests, show violations of all three prominent government, cancer-safety benchmarks. If so, these facilities require additional testing/remediation, likely put site renters at risk, and may reveal problems with privatized hazardous cleanup. To our knowledge, we provide the first independent tests of privatized, toxic-site assessments before cancer reports occur. Our screening assessment of this hypothesis tests indoor air in rental units on a prominent former weapons-testing site (the US Naval Ordnance Testing Station, Pasadena, California (NOTSPA) that is subject to carcinogenic vapor intrusion by volatile organic compounds, VOCs), then compares test results to the redeveloper's site-safety claims, made to government officials and citizens through traditional and social media. Although NOTSPA toxic soil-gas concentrations are up to nearly a million times above allowed levels, and indoor air was never tested until now, both the regulator and the remediator (CBRE/TCC) have repeatedly claimed on social media that "the site is safe at this time." We used mainly TO-17 and two-week sampling with passive, sorbent tubes to assess indoor-air VOCs. Our show that VOC levels at every location sampled-all in occupied site-rental units-violate all three government-mandated safety benchmarks: environmental screening levels (ESLs), No Significant Risk Levels (NSRLs), and inhalation risks based on the Inhalation Unit Risk (IUR); some violations are two orders of magnitude above multiple safety benchmarks. These results support our hypothesis and suggest a need for independent assessment of privatized cleanups and media-enhanced safety claims about them. If our results can be replicated at other sites, then preventing health misinformation and toxic-facility safety threats may require new strategies, one of which we outline.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18083882DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8067841PMC
April 2021

Data-Quality Assessment Signals Toxic-Site Safety Threats and Environmental Injustices.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2021 02 19;18(4). Epub 2021 Feb 19.

Department of Economics, 3060 Jenkins Nanovic Hall, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA.

Most hazardous-waste sites are located in urban areas populated by disproportionate numbers of children, minorities, and poor people who, as a result, face more severe pollution threats and environmental-health inequalities. Partly to address this harm, in 2017 the United Nations unanimously endorsed the New Urban Agenda, which includes redeveloping urban-infill-toxic-waste sites. However, no systematic, independent analyses assess the public-health adequacy of such hazardous-facility redevelopments. Our is to provide a preliminary data-quality assessment (PDQA) of urban-infill-toxic-site testing, conducted by private redevelopers, including whether it adequately addresses pollution threats. To this end, we used two qualitative, weight-of-evidence . Method 1 employs nine criteria to select assessments for PDQA and help control for confounders. To conduct PDQA, Method 2 uses three US Environmental Protection Agency standards-the temporal, geographical, and technological representativeness of sampling. Our Method 1 reveal four current toxic-site assessments (by CBRE/Trammell Crow, the world's largest commercial developer); at all of these sites the main risk drivers are solvents, volatile organic compounds, including trichloroethylene. Our Method 2 indicate that all four assessments violate most PDQA standards and systematically underestimate health risk. These results reveal environmental injustice, disproportionate health threats to children/minorities/poor people at all four sites. Although preliminary, our is that alleviating harm and environmental-health inequalities posed by urban-infill-toxic-site pollution may require improving both the testing/cleanup/redevelopment requirements of the New Urban Agenda and the regulatory oversight of assessment and remediation performed by private redevelopers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18042012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7922696PMC
February 2021