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Silicon Valley Toxic Waste Cleanup Creating More Environmental Hazards

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File photo of the forme NAS Moffett Field and some of the areas contained in the Mountain View Superfund cleanup site. (NASA Ames)

File photo of the former NASA Moffett Field and some of the areas contained in the Mountain View Superfund cleanup site. (NASA Ames)

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Toxic waste clean-up in Silicon Valley is creating additional environmental hazards in other parts of the U.S., according to a new report.

The Center for Investigative Reporting found what it called a “toxic trail” of waste components being shipped from a Superfund cleanup site in Mountain View across the U.S. and creating even more toxic chemicals.

Meanwhile, treatment of toxic waste leaves behind a new batch of waste to be shipped somewhere else, according to the report.

“There’s really no such thing as throwing something away. You’re always throwing it somewhere,” Environmental Protection Agency spokesman Rusty Harris-Bishop told CIR.

The Superfund site in Mountain View includes portions of the former Naval Air Station at Moffett Field and areas which were home to facilities for Intel, Fairchild Semiconductor, Raytheon and other electronics and semiconductor firms.

Among the current firms in the area is Google, which last year found elevated levels of toxic vapors at two of their buildings on North Whisman Road.

Other findings in the CIR report included:

- The super-heating process used to release toxic chemicals from carbon filters give way to dioxins, which can escape the plants and build up in the food supply. Dioxins have been linked to cancer and birth defects.

- Cleanup at the Mountain View site, and others like it, is not reducing the levels of pollution and in some cases the treatment is actually increasing the pollution in the water.

- The costs of the cleanup are staggering – the EPA estimates $1.2 billion is spent for every decade of ongoing treatment. The figure does not include the billions more spent by private companies to clean up their own previous toxic messes, according to the report.

The full report can be found at the Center for Investigative Reporting.

 

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