In 2002, aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, and lindane were detected in the surface soil at the George AFB Family Housing. In 2005 the Air Force advised the City of Victorville that the levels of pesticides detected at the Base Family Housing “could present a danger to human health if soils are inhaled, ingested, or contacted by skin.” On 1 October 2007, the levels of chlordane and other organochlorine pesticides’ (“OCPs”) and their breakdown products was so high that the Air Force banned the property and housing for residential use. As of 7 February 2016 the Air Force has failed to notify the thousands of former tenants and building occupants of their possible toxic exposure.
According to the US EPA: “Acute and chronic exposure to these pesticides [chlordane, aldrin, dieldrin, and heptachlor] can cause numerous health effects and increase cancer risks. Although dependent on the pesticide and level and duration of exposure, studies on acute and chronic exposures of humans and animals to these pesticides have reported multiple neurologic effects, reproductive/development effects, and damage to the liver and kidneys.”
In the Public Health Assessment for George Air Force Base the ATSDR made the following statements:
“ATSDR did not identify any completed exposure pathways from George AFB to children at nearby schools or residential areas.” Page 27
“Soil at George AFB does not represent an apparent past public health hazard and does not represent a present or future public health hazard.” Page 28
The Air Force knew that the surface soil under and around the George AFB Family Housing was contaminated with hazardous levels of chlordane and other organochlorine pesticides (“OCPs”)
aldrin at 16, 700 μg/kg – 576 x PRG – Sample Depth (ft. bgs): 0.3-0.8
dieldrin at 15,000 μg/kg – 500 x PRG – Sample Depth (ft. bgs): 0.3-0.8
chlordane at 24,100 μg/kg – 15 x PRG – Sample Depth (ft. bgs): 0.5-1
μg/kg: concentrations of chemicals in soil measured in units of the mass of chemical (micrograms, μg) per mass of soil (kilogram, kg)
PRG: residential preliminary remediation goal
ft. bgs: feet below ground surface
The Air Force has analytical testing data indicating elevated soil contamination levels of the pesticides Aldrin and Dieldrin in the housing area. The Air Force believes that the surface and shallow subsurface soil contamination is pervasive through the housing area, particularly under house foundations. The pesticides could present a risk to human health if soils are inhaled, ingested, or contacted by skin. Any wastes generated by digging must be handled as hazardous until proven otherwise.
“Within the housing area of Former George Air Force Base the pesticides Aldrin and Dieldrin were used to control termites. In 2002 the soil in this area was tested for Organochloride Pesticides and in several locations elevated levels of Aldrin and Dieldrin were detected. In 2005 the Air Force advised the City [of Victorville] that these levels of pesticides may present a danger to human health if soils are inhaled, ingested, or contacted by skin.”
On 1 October 2007, the Air Force placed the following conditional use clause in the George AFB Family Housing quitclaim deed:
“Grantee covenants and agrees that it will not use, or allow others to use, the Property for residential purposes (including mobile or modular homes), hospitals for human care, public or private schools for persons under 18 years of age, nursery schools, or day care centers for children.”
On 14 April 2014, Terri K Crooks won her VA C&P Claim for service connected injury for her exposure to chlordane and other organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) used at George Air Force Base Family Housing and barracks.
“You have submitted new and material evidence to reopen this claim. While not specifically diagnosed during active military service, we have received objective medical evidence from Dr. xxxx linking your condition to symptoms treated while on active duty as we as probable exposure to toxic chemicals. Dr. xxxx provided that after reviewing your service medical records and substantiating documents regarding toxic chemicals used at George Air Force Base, it was his opinion that your condition was at least as likely as not caused by your military service.” …
“… Service connection for bilateral mastectomy, residual of breast cancer has been established as directly related to military service. While not specifically diagnosed during active military service, we have received objective medical evidence from Dr. xxxx linking your condition to symptoms treated while on active duty as well as pro a e exposure to toxic chemicals. Dr. xxxx, provided that after reviewing your service medical records and substantiating documents regarding toxic chemicals used at George Air Force Base, it was his opinion that your condition was at least as likely as not caused by your military service. Your service records confirm your service at George Air Force Base during your period of active military service. There is no objective medical evidence showing that your condition was not caused by your military service. …”
On 19 December 2014, the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board (LRWQCB) issued a Land Use Controls Violation to the Air Force. This violation letter addresses the fact that the Air Force did NOT test the schools for dieldrin before the property was transferred to the Adelanto Unified School District and the Air Force ALLOWED the school to reopen WITHOUT testing for contamination from any of the organochlorine pesticides (“OCPs”).
“Concern Regarding George AFB Schools
Another concern related to dieldrin soil contamination is the presence of schools located adjacent to the former housing area; namely, the former George AFB Elementary School and George Junior High (Middle) School. These schools were apparently built during the same time period as the housing units and similar construction procedures may have been followed, including the possible application of pesticides for termite control. These schools were transferred to the Adelanto Unified School District in 1994. The former elementary school is now operated as an adult educational facility called Taylion High Desert Academy. The former middle school is now leased by Adelanto Unified School District to Excelsior Charter School (grades 7-12). Apparently, the soils at these schools have not been tested for dieldrin.”
As of 17 January 2016, the Air Force has failed to notify the former base personnel, their families, civilian employees, and the surrounding community of their exposure to potentially life-threatening environmental contamination at George AFB’s Family Housing.
George AFB Family Housing – CERCLA §120(h) Deed Restrictions – Chlordane and other organochlorine pesticides (“OCPs”)
The Army and Air Force used the chlordane and other organochlorine pesticides (“OCPs”) to protect buildings (pre-1988) against ground termites and other pests at George AFB including the Base Schools, Family Housing, Barracks, and Dorms.
- The DOD and the Air Force failed to test for these organochlorine pesticides except at the Base Family Housing Units.
- The DOD and the Air Force failed to disclose the widespread use of these organochlorine pesticides in the CERCLA §120(h) Deed Restrictions as required by law except for at the Base Family Housing Units.
- The DOD and the Air Force failed to test the soils at the former George AFB Elementary School and George Junior High (Middle) School for dieldrin.
- The DOD and the Air Force failed to disclose that dangerous levels of aldrin and chlordane were present at the Base Family Housing Units in the CERCLA §120(h) Deed Restrictions as required by law.
- The DOD and the Air Force failed to disclose the widespread use of these organochlorine pesticides to the ATSDR for its 1998 Public Health Assessment for George AFB. When the ATSDR concluded that there were no completed exposure pathways, the DOD and the Air Force did not correct the ATSDR during the Peer Review / Public Comments period or after the Public Health Assessment for George AFB was published in 1998.
- Sale Price: $718,685.00
- Transferred the responsibility and liability for the contamination from the Air Force to the Southern California Logistics Airport Authority (local taxpayers)
- CERCLA §120(h) Deed Restrictions – Family Housing
- Pesticide contamination soil and groundwater – Dieldrin or other possible pesticide-related constituents (“Pesticides”)
II. CONSIDERATION AND CONVEYANCE
WITNESSETH, THAT in consideration of the sum of SEVEN HUNDRED EIGHTEEN THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED EIGHTY FIVE DOLLARS ($718,685.00), and other good and valuable consideration, the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, the Grantor does hereby release and forever quitclaim to the Grantee all that real property …
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B. The Grantee acknowledges that it has inspected, is aware of, and accepts the condition and state of repair of the Property, and that the Property is conveyed, “as is,” “where is,” without any representation, promise, agreement, or warranty on the part of the Grantor regarding such condition and state of repair, or regarding the making of any alterations, improvements, repairs, or additions. The Grantee further acknowledges that the Grantor shall not be liable for any latent or patent defects in the Property, except to the extent required by applicable law.
Page 3 of 14
(e) Grantee covenants and agrees that it will not use, or allow others to use, the Property for residential purposes (including mobile or modular homes), hospitals for human care, public or private schools for persons under 18 years of age, nursery schools, or day care centers for children.
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VIII. OTHER COVENANTS
- Pesticides. The Grantee is warned of the presence of Dieldrin or other possible pesticide-related constituents (“Pesticides”) on the Property in certain portions of the soil and in the upper aquifer of the groundwater, which may have resulted from past applications of pesticides. The Grantee is cautioned to use due care during use, occupancy, and Property development activities that may involve soils containing Pesticides. …
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Grantor: US Air Force
Grantee: Southern California Logistics Airport Authority
- Pesticides: What You Need to Know
- Healthy Milk, Healthy Baby – Dieldrin, Aldrin and Endrin
- Healthy Milk, Healthy Baby – Chlordane
- Bioaccumulate: to become concentrated inside the bodies of living things
- Organochlorine pesticides: POPs made out of organochlorine compounds. These organochlorine compounds and there metabolites can cross the placental barrier and accumulate in lipid rich tissues such as human breast and breast milk
- Persistent organic pollutants (POPs): organic compounds of natural or anthropogenic origin that resist photolytic, chemical and / or biological degradation (UNEP, 1999)
- Persistent: extremely resistant to natural breakdown processes and therefore are stable and long-lived
- Pollutants: toxic chemicals which adversely affect human health
- Synergistic interaction: the effect of two chemicals taken together which is greater than the sum of their separate effect at the same doses
- AF – United States Air Force
- ATSDR – Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
- CAA: Clean Air Act
- CERCLA: Superfund or Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980
- CWA: Clean Water Act
- EPA – United States Environmental Protection Agency
- FIFRA: Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act
- DOD – United States Department of Defense
- POPs – Persistent Organic Pollutants
- TSCA: Toxic Substances Control Act
- WHO – World Health Organization