By Dan McDonald
September 26, 2011 12:00 AM
NEW BEDFORD — A recent environmental consultant memo affirms that dioxins are present in soil around the high school, according to a scientist, while CLEAN, a local environmental advocacy group, is calling for more assessment at the site.
In June, city consultants took soil samples from around the high school and proceeded to test the samples for dioxins and dioxin-like compounds.
The consultants, Lowell-based TRC, released a memo last week regarding the sampling.
The school sits atop the Parker Street Waste Site, which formerly was an industrial burn dump for decades during the last century.
While acknowledging that "it is difficult to assess what the data from the June sampling means in the big picture," Ian Phillips, a scientist who is working pro bono for CLEAN, did say the memo indicates "they need to consider dioxins as a contaminant of concern at the site."
Polychlorinated biphenyls, organic compounds considered to be carcinogenic by the Department of Health and Human Services, were used in lubricating agents in the manufacture of electrolytic capacitors at New Bedford factories, and were among the substances dumped at Parker Street. They were not known to cause cancer at the time.
Dioxins are toxic compounds that result from the burning of PCBs and other organic materials.
Tom Derosier, CLEAN vice president, said based on "the dioxin sampling that has been done to date, it only validates that more investigation has to be done."
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