Health Impacts Experienced by Crossett Community Members as a Result of Being Exposed to toxic chemicals Released into the air by the Georgia Pacific Crossett Plywood/Stud Mill Complex in Crossett, Arkansas

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Wilma Subra
Subra Company/Louisiana Environmental Action Network

LEAN Technical Advisor, Wilma Subra, presented the human health impacts associated with the pollution from the Georgia-Pacific Papermill in Crossett, Arkansas to the adjacent community. See the news coverage here:

Presentation by

Wilma Subra
Subra Company/Louisiana Environmental Action Network
P. O. Box 9813
New Iberia, LA 70562
337 367 2216
subracom [at] aol [dot] com

In Cooperation with

Ouachita Riverkeeper
Cheryl Slavant
2610 Washington St.
Monroe, LA 71201-6542

March 2013
Living World Church of God in Christ
Crossett, Arkansas
Hydrogen Sulfide

Crossett Community Health Survey 2012

42 Individuals Surveyed
57% Male
43% Female

42% Retired
24% Disabled

Odor Events
69% of individuals surveyed have health impacts associated with odor events

Odor Eventsoccur up to 4 times per day
1 to 7 days per week
7 to 30 days per month

Odors describedas
Strong odors
Rotten eggs
Terrible smells
Bad odors
Chemical Odors
Chlorine Smell

Odors originate from the
Georgia Pacific Facility
Waste Water Treatment Impoundments
Aeration Ponds
Waste Water Transfer Conduits

Health Impacts Experienced by Crossett Community Members – 2012

Health Impacts % of Population
Headache 91
Eye Irritation 81
Coughing 69
Dizziness or Lightheadedness 64
Sore Throat 62
Nose Irritation 60
Abdominal Pain 50
Hypertension 50
Difficulty Breathing 45
Respiratory Problems 45
Nausea 43
Loss of Balance 40
Gastrointestinal Disturbance 40
Depression 38
Chest Pain and Tightness 33
Skin Irritation and Damage 33
Allergic Reactions 33
Cardiovascular Stress 29
Central Nervous System Effects 26
Lung Irritation 26
Diarrhea 26
Confusion 26

Crossett Community Health Survey 2013

86 Individuals Surveyed
41% Male
59% Female

49% of surveyed individuals presently work or have worked for Georgia Pacific in Crossett for up to 46 years

Odor Events
90% of individuals surveyed have health impacts associated with odor events

Odor Events
1 to 7 days per week
6 to 30 days per month

81% of individuals surveyed indicated they had offensive odors and irritants entering their homes

78% of individuals surveyed indicated the offensive odors affected their quality of life

Health Impacts % of population
Headache 83
Eye Irritation 74
Nose Irritation 65
Dizziness 63
Throat Irritation 53
Muscle Weakness 45

Comparison of Crossett Community Health Surveys in 2012 and 2013

2012 2013
Individuals Surveyed 42 86
% Male 57 41
% Female 43 59
% of individuals with health impacts associated with odor events 69 90
% of individuals with offensive odors affecting their quality of life 78
Health Impacts

% of population

Headache 91 83
Eye Irritation 81 74
Nose Irritation 60 65
Dizziness 64 63
Throat Irritation 62 53
Muscle Weakness 45

Hydrogen Sulfide concentrations in the air in Crossett, in the areas surrounding the Georgia Pacific facility and waste water impoundments were measured using a Jerome Hydrogen Sulfide monitor between March 6 and 9, 2012.
Concentrations of Hydrogen Sulfide were detected in the air downwind of the Georgia Pacific facility and downwind of the waste water impoundments, aeration pounds and waste water transfer conduits in concentrations ranging from 1 to 25 parts per billion. Plumes of Hydrogen Sulfide were plotted based on the monitoring data and demonstrated different areas of the surrounding communities and businesses being impacted based on prevailing wind directions.

Hydrogen Sulfide Health Effects

Irritation to eyes
Irritation to nose, throat, and lungs
Shortness of Breathe
Breathing Difficulty
Respiratory track irritation
Nausea and vomiting
Neurological effects
Cardiovascular impacts
Destruction of lung tissue
Memory loss

Georgia Pacific Plywood/Stud Mill Complex
Crossett, Arkansas

Toxic Air Releases

2009 880,891.6 pounds (440 tons)
2010 913.184.5 pounds (457 tons)
2011 919,437.3 pounds (460 tons)

Toxic Water Releases to the Ouachita River

2009 139,332 pounds (69.7 tons)
2010 136,715 pounds (68.4 tons)
2011 128,098 pounds (64.0 tons)

Toxic Land Releases

2009 410,906 pounds (205 tons)
2010 525,094 pounds (263 tons)
2011 451,443 pounds (226 tons)

Source: Environmental Protection Agency, Toxic Release Inventory


Fugitive 5,451 pounds
Stack 24,285 pounds
Total Air Emissions 29,736 pounds (14.9 tons)
Ouachita River 2,029 pounds
Land 12 pounds

Formaldehyde Health Effects

Burning and irritation to eyes
Skin irritation and dermatitis
Coughing and wheezing
Asthma-like respiratory problems
Shortness of breathe
Irritation to nose, mouth, throat and lungs
Known human cancer causing agent
Cancer of nasopharynx and leukemia


Fugitive 1,950 pounds
Stack 23,358 pounds
Total Air Emissions 25,308 pounds
Land 21 pounds

Phenol Health Effects

Burning and irritation to eyes and skin
Irritates nose, throat and lungs
Causes headaches, dizziness and lightheadedness
Damages liver, kidneys and nervous system
Causes mutations
Possible carcinogen


Fugitive 5 pounds
Stack 2,114 pounds
Total Air Emissions 2,199 pounds

Chlorine Health Impacts
Irritate and burn skin and eyes
Irritate nose, throat and lungs
Cause asthma-like allergy

Chlorine Dioxide

Fugitive 5 pounds
Stack 3,194 pounds
Total Air Emissions 3,199 pounds

Chlorine Dioxide Health Impacts
Irritate skin and eyes
Irritate nose, throat and lungs
Shortness of Breathe

Risk Management Plan – Updated February 2011

Regulated Substances under the Risk Management Plan
Chlorine Dioxide

Chlorine Dioxide – Worse Case Release Scenario
Failure of 158,000 gallon storage tank
Toxic End Point –24 mile radius
Vulnerable Zone
36,129 people living in the vulnerable zone
several industrial facilities
several public and private elementary and high
several nursing homes churches, and recreation
numerous subdivision

Chlorine – Worse Case Release Scenario
Failure of one inch diameter transfer line releasing
179 pounds/minute for 15 minutes
Toxic End Point –0.6 miles radius
Vulnerable Zone
221 people living in the vulnerable zone
elementary schools and industrial facilities
several recreation parks, subdivisions and
environmental receptors


Fugitive 1,670 pounds
Stack 1 ,240 pounds
Total Air Emissions 2,918 pounds

Toluene Health Impacts
Irritates nose, throat
Affects nervous system
Causes headaches, dizziness
Damages liver, kidneys and brain
Teratogen, Damages developing fetus


Fugitive 360 pounds
Stack 480 pounds

Epichlorohydrin Health Impacts
Irritate and burn skin and eyes Probable human carcinogen
Irritate nose, throat Damages chromosomes
Damages lungs Causes cell mutation
Cause asthma-like allergy Damages liver and kidneys
Damages respiratory tract
Causes skin allergies

Dioxin and Dioxin Like Compounds

Stack 1.4792 grams
Ouachita River 4.66 grams
Land 4.0729 grams

Dioxin and Dioxin Like Compounds Health Impacts
Irritates and burns skin, eyes
Causes headaches, weakness, dizziness, nausea and vomiting
May damage liver
Affects nervous system

Accidental Chemicals Releases from the Georgia Pacific Crossett, Arkansas Facilities and Reported to the National Response Center

Date Chemical Media Facility

3/29/12 1.4% Formaldehyde Air/Soil GP Chemical

8/22/12 Sodium Hypochlorite 60 gallons
Operator Error – Fork LIft Punctured Tote

8/31/12 Methyl Mercaptan 20 pounds
Hydrogen Sulfide 200 pounds
Released from Waste Water Treatment Plant


Exposure Reduction

There is a desperate need to reduce the toxic chemicals being released into the air by the Georgia Pacific facility, that are resulting in Crossett community members being exposed and experiencing health impacts.

Exposure reductions should begin with the Georgia Pacific facility reducing fugitive emissions from the facility operations, as well as the waste water impoundments, aeration ponds and waste water conduits. The fugitive emissions from the facility itself consist of 22% of the total toxic emissions released into the air, which impact the surrounding community of Crossett.

To track toxic chemical reductions activities, a continuous ambient air and fenceline monitoring system should be established within the community, on all sides of the facility perimeter and surrounding the waste water impoundments and aeration basins. The monitoring should include the full spectrum of toxic chemicals being released by the Georgia Pacific facility and by the waste water treatment units. Data should be provided to the community on an ongoing basis and at monthly community meetings. Information on accidental events and upset conditions that result in offsite impacts should be immediately posted on a web site accessible by community members. Monthly community meetings should be conducted by Georgia Pacific to discuss the results of the air monitoring and activities the facility is conducting to reduce community exposure.

Toxicological Evaluation of Community Health Impacts Correlated to Toxic Exposure

Based on the results of the health surveys performed over the last two years and historical as well as ongoing complaints of health impacts by Crossett community members, there is a need for the establishment of a toxicological evaluation of the community health impacts as they correlate to the levels of exposure to the chemicals being released by the Georgia Pacific facility and associated waste water treatment units.

Identification of Composition and Extent of Ground Water Aquifer Contamination

Based on the initial results of groundwater aquifer sampling performed during 2012, on behalf of the Ouachita Riverkeeper, additional investigations are needed to identify the chemical composition of ground water resources and extent of contamination of the groundwater aquifer resources in the areas potentially impacted by the Georgia Pacific facility. The uses of the ground water aquifer resources by individuals, businesses and municipalities must be evaluated in relation to potential contaminants, ground water contaminant plumes, and uses of the aquifer.

The potential for contamination of the aquifer and surface water resources by ongoing waste water treatment operations as well as historical facility operations and waste management practices, needs to be evaluated.

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