Toenail clippings to measure toxic exposure in NJ - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

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>>

  • New Jersey sues over Florida pizza shop logo

    New Jersey sues over Florida pizza shop logo

    The New Jersey Turnpike Authority wants a Florida pizza shop to pay a big toll for using a logo similar to the iconic Garden State Parkway's green and yellow signs.
    The New Jersey Turnpike Authority wants a Florida pizza shop to pay a big toll for using a logo similar to the iconic Garden State Parkway's green and yellow signs.
  • Port Authority to plan for new bus terminal

    Port Authority to plan for new bus terminal

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 3:02 PM EDT2014-07-23 19:02:29 GMT
    The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is discussing a new main bus terminal. The 64-year-old Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan has come under criticism from New Jersey lawmakers who say their constituents have to deal with long delays, substandard conditions and a lack of communication.
    The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is discussing a new main bus terminal. The 64-year-old Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan has come under criticism from New Jersey lawmakers who say their constituents have to deal with long delays, substandard conditions and a lack of communication.
  • Man stabbed ex 84 times, put pig mask on her

    Jury: Man stabbed ex 84 times, put pig mask on her

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 2:10 PM EDT2014-07-23 18:10:40 GMT
    Jurors have found a New Jersey man who stabbed his ex-wife 84 times and covered her face with a Halloween pig mask guilty of murder.
    A New Jersey man has been convicted of fatally stabbing his ex-wife 84 times and covering her face with a pig mask.
Powered by WorldNow

KTTV FOX 11
1999 S. Bundy Dr.
Los Angeles CA 90025

Main: (310) 584-2000
News Tips? (310) 584-2025

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