In NJ, a Contaminant More Toxic Than Thought

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A new study finds New Jersey officials underestimated the toxicity of a known-contaminant in Hudson County. WNYC's Bob Hennelly has more.

REPORTER: In the last century, Hudson County and Jersey City in particular, was a global center for processing chromite ore. Those plants are gone. But a highly toxic legacy remains at some 200 chromium sites throughout the county.

New research from the state's Department of Environmental Protection finds the state's current permissible standard for chromium contamination is 240 times higher than it should be. In 2008 the federal Centers for Disease Control found that those who live near the Hudson County hot spots had a higher incidence of lung cancer.

A few years ago, companies with chromium contamination successfully lobbied State regulators for a less stringent standard. The current DEP Commissioner plans to review the new findings. For WNYC I am Bob Hennelly.