Image from Unsplash 

Image from Unsplash 

Post By: Molly Esselstrom, Upstream Research™ Marketing Manager

According to a Wikipedia page, there are about 1,300 Superfunds sites in the United States. And these are the ones that are confirmed.

A recent article by Sharon Lerner for The Intercept, “Donald Trump’s Pick for EPA Enforcement Office Was a Lobbyist for Superfund Polluters,” is a well-researched piece focused on the contamination of Superfund sites and the negative consequences of improper cleanup.

Lerner’s piece focuses on Hoosick, NY, a small town whose water has been contaminated with PFOA (a synthetic chemical) from the nearby Superfund site that is associated with cancer and thyroid diseases. Lerner goes on to show that the contamination from the site and the corresponding ill-health of the community are closely linked and, because clean up has been “halted” in recent years, disease and cancer rates have increased.

The larger picture of fewer Superfund cleanups is startling with a domino effect of negative health consequences. To make matters worse, let’s go back to the title of Lerner’s article: “Donald Trump’s Pick for EPA Enforcement Office Was a Lobbyist for Superfund Polluters.” Susan Bodine is the new assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance but is a former lobbyist for superfund polluters. In addition to this, Albert Kelly (chair of Superfund Task Force) has reportedly no experience with environmental issues at all. Both are in charge of superfund cleanups, like the one in Hoosick, NY.

The same Wikipedia article that outlines the known Superfund sites lists them by state here. It’s important for citizens to be aware of a site’s location relative to where they live, where their children play and where they work or spend their days.

Articles like Lerner’s are helping to raise awareness and give background to a complex issue but they are one piece of the equation. It takes individuals and communities to learn about this information and become empowered to make a difference. Upstream Reports is, in part, trying to do exactly this by displaying terabytes of crucial environmental data in a readable and actionable way, even by reaching out directly to a government official responsible for the area.


The first step is, always, awareness. The second is action.

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