Toenail clippings to measure toxic exposure in NJ - FOX 13 News

Toenail clippings to measure toxic exposure in NJ

Posted: Updated:
NEW JERSEY (MYFOXNY.COM) -

So-called toenail kits are being distributed to residents in Garfield, N.J. The hope is that the nail clippings will help scientists determine whether toxins from an EPA Superfund site are making people sick.

Exposure to hexavalent chromium is what scientists from NYU's Department of Environmental Medicine will be looking for when they analyze the toenail samples, according to Professor Judith Zelikoff. Hexavalent chromium is a known carcinogen linked to lung and intestinal cancers.

The main culprit is the EC electroplating factory, which was the site of a major chemical spill in 1983. The plant was recently demolished by the EPA. But that has done little to quell the concerns of residents like Don Calderio who was born and raised in Garfield and lives across the street from the Superfund site.

A tell-tale sign of the toxin is yellow dust or crystals, which are left behind if a basement floods. They can be extremely harmful if inhaled.

In 2009 the EPA tested hundreds of homes in the plants vicinity and found 13 had elevated chromium levels in their basements, though Calderio's wasn't one of them.

While the latest state data shows no elevated cancer risk for Garfield, City Manager Tom Duch said people are still worried.

"People are concerned about whether or not they've been exposed," he said.

That is where the toenail tests come in. The team hopes to collect 250 samples.

"Toenail clippings are a very non invasive simple way of testing for chromium in the body," Zelikoff said.

The NYU researchers will be distributing e toenail kits for the next few weeks. If you are interested in participating you should contact them, but you must be a no smoker and a non diabetic. The hope is that the overall results will be complete later this year.

Contact Bernadette.Rexford@nyumc.org

  • New Jersey NewsNew Jersey NewsMore>>

  • Man to face murder charges in mother's slaying

    Man to face murder charges in mother's slaying

    Monday, September 1 2014 3:08 PM EDT2014-09-01 19:08:57 GMT
    Murder charges are pending against a northern New Jersey man who allegedly stabbed and beat his mother to death.
    Murder charges are pending against a northern New Jersey man who allegedly stabbed and beat his mother to death.
  • Why is Atlantic City collapsing?

    Why is Atlantic City collapsing?

    Sunday, August 31 2014 8:38 PM EDT2014-09-01 00:38:30 GMT
    AP file photoAP file photo
    For decades, making some quick cash was the main drive behind so many who took the ride down the parkway to Atlantic City. But with so much to choose from nowadays, it looks like Atlantic City is in a lot of trouble.
    For decades, making some quick cash was the main drive behind so many who took the ride down the parkway to Atlantic City. But with so much to choose from nowadays, it looks like Atlantic City is in a lot of trouble.
  • 6 rescued from sinking boat off NJ

    6 rescued from sinking boat off NJ

    Sunday, August 31 2014 5:53 PM EDT2014-08-31 21:53:06 GMT
    Six people were saved as their boat was sinking in waters near the New Jersey coast. 
    Six people were saved as their boat was sinking in waters near the New Jersey coast. 
Powered by WorldNow

FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
3213 West Kennedy Blvd.
Tampa, Florida 33609
Main: (813) 876-1313
Newsroom: (813) 870-9630
Fax: (813) 871-3135

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices