2009/06/08:WNPJ Group of the Week: Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger

Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger was organized in 1990 when the community learned private drinking water wells near Wisconsin's Badger Army Ammunition Plant were polluted with high levels of cancer causing chemicals. The founders believed community involvement could have prevented this tragedy and consequently organized CSWAB both to empower and to protect nearby residents and plant workers from further harm.  

CSWAB was recently featured in The Progressive magazine describing their work and H.R. 672, the Military Environmental Responsibility Act, which would force the military to comply with environmental and public safety laws.  Read the story here........and a new press release on a new deer study follow:

June 18, 2009
For Immediate Release

For more information contact:
Laura Olah, CSWAB (608) 643-3124


A pivotal human health study evaluating the potential uptake of residual explosives by deer has been found to be inconclusive.  An independent technical review has determined that an oft-cited Army study is not able to confirm or deny whether it is safe to eat the deer from the Badger Army Ammunition Plant.
In response to renewed pressure from the U.S. Army to weaken required soil cleanup goals, rural neighbors of the Badger plant hired an independent consultant to review a deer tissue study which the military says supports their position.  Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger (CSWAB) asked Environmental Stewardship Concepts, a Virginia-based firm with expertise in environmental health issues, to review the Army report.

“We want to make sure that environmental cleanup at military bases like Badger is protective of human health,” said Laura Olah, Executive Director of CSWAB.  “Our goal is to ensure that regulators, future owners, and community members are aware of any potential shortcomings in the Army's studies.” 

The Army study was designed to determine whether the deer at the Badger site contained two common forms of the explosive Dinitrotoluene (DNT) in their tissues at concentrations that would be unsuitable for human consumption.
The study focused on examining the presence of DNT in the liver, muscle and heart tissues of the deer.

“As a former army ammunition plant, the Badger site was exposed to 2,4 and 2,6-DNT however other forms of DNT are also present on the site but were not considered in this study,” said Dr. Peter deFur, president of Environmental Stewardship Concepts. “The problem is that the design provides results of limited use and applicability.”

DeFur is not the only one critical of the deer study.  Army officials with the Center for Health Promotion and Preventative Medicine have also described the Badger study as having analytical detection limits that were “not sufficiently low to allow an accurate estimation of the levels of explosives that had bioaccumulated.”

In addition to Badger, the 1991 study has been cited in risk assessments for military facilities across the U.S. including Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant in Kansas, Weldon Spring Ordnance Works in Missouri, Fort McClellan in Alabama, and the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland.

Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger (CSWAB) was organized in 1990 when rural families near Wisconsin’s Badger Army Ammunition Plant learned that private drinking water wells were polluted with high levels of cancer-causing solvents.  The group continues to serve as a local watchdog and national leader on military cleanups.

Dr. Peter L. deFur serves as a technical advisor to citizen organizations and government agencies. He is an Affiliate Associate Professor in the Center for Environmental Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University where he conducts research on environmental health and ecological risk assessment.

DeFur’s complete report and the Army’s deer study are available online at www.cswab.org.

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U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine (Provisional), Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, Study No. 75-23-YS50-94, Final Report Health Risk Assessment of Consuming Deer from Aberdeen Proving Ground, May 1995.

Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Health Consultation, Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant, Desoto, Kansas, February 1996.

Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Public Health Assessment, Weldon Spring Ordnance Works, Weldon Spring, St. Charles County, Missouri, March 1995.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, Final Baseline Ecological Risk Assessment Study Design for Iron Mountain Road Ranges, Fort McClellan, Calhoun County, Alabama, November 2002.

Laura Olah, Executive Director
Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger (CSWAB)
E12629 Weigand's Bay South
Merrimac, WI  53561
(608) 643-3124