Tuesday, June 23, 2009

ERC Tour 2009 Media

The ERC tour has been picked up by several media outlets, and they have published nice stories about us. The UMDNJ Media put together a press release that was published in the following sites:

I was also interviewed by Lexis Nexis, and the interview is posted on their website ...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

ERC TOUR 2009 - Love Canal

Our last visit of the trip was Love Canal. Love Canal is named for William T. Love. In the 1890s he wanted to build a canal connecting the two levels of the Niagara River separated by Niagara Falls. He thought it would provide hydroelectricity to the area's growing industries. As you know, this is an historically significant site for the environmental and hazardous waste industry. Love Canal was a dump site/landfill for chemicals disposed of by Hooker Chemical Corporation. They sold the site to the Niagara Board of Education in 1953. By 1955, construction on the site initiated for a school and homes. In the 1970s, chemicals bubbled up into some of the homes, and the residents wanted to know why there seemed to be higher levels of disease in the area. By 1978, Love Canal had become a national media event with articles referring to the neighborhood as "a public health time bomb," and "one of the most appalling environmental tragedies in American history."

The management firm provided an exceptional history of the site, and the engineering to control the contamination. They also described the monitoring in place and hsowed us the water treatment facility. We walked across the "Canal" to get a scope of the size (relatively small) and think back to how terrible this place was. Love Canal was the site that lead to the creation of the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), more commonly known as the Superfund.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

ERC TOUR 2009 - Brush Wellman, Elmore OH

Just finished the tour of the Brush Wellman facility in Elmore OH (about 30 miles SE of Toledo). Brush Wellman is largest manufacturer of beryllium products and the only fully-integrated producer of beryllium, beryllium-containing alloys, and beryllia ceramic in the world. We were able to walk through the three processes they have at the Elmore plant. These include copper-beryllium Strip products, copper-beryllium bulk products, and beryllium products. We focused a lot on the safety issues related to working with beryllium. Our group dressed in loos-fitter powered air purifying respirators to tour the facility.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

ERC TOUR 2009 - Detroit

Today was a great tour of the Ford River Rouge Factory. This may be the most famous auto plant in the world. Henry Ford bought the land in 1915. The Rouge plant was an integrated manufacturing facility. Media.ford.com says the Rouge included "ore docks, steel furnaces, coke ovens, rolling mills, glass furnaces and plate-glass rollers. Buildings included a tire-making plant, stamping plant, engine casting plant, frame and assembly plant, transmission plant, radiator plant, tool and die plant and, at one time, even a paper mill. A massive power plant produced enough electricity to light a city the size of nearby Detroit, and a soybean conversion plant turned soybeans into plastic auto parts."

The Rouge today assembles F-150 pick-up trucks. We are able to walk around a catwalk above the assembly facility. We were able to see how Ford implemented ergonomic and other safety measures. After the Rouge tour, Luis Vazquez from the UAW provided a nice overview of safety and health issues of auto workers. Thanks to Luis and the UAW for participating and presenting to our group. Our final tour included the Henry Ford museum. There was a great exhibit on Cars and Guitars - the cars and guitars of rock stars. The museum had a very powerful exhibit "With Liberty and Justice for All." They had Rosa Parks bus, and we sat in her seat. Other fun exhibits were the Dymaxion House, MTV studio and lots of Americana. This was an excellent and worthwhile stop.

We are in Toledo, with a stop at Brush Wellman beryllium tomorrow. Pictures to be added in the morning.

Monday, June 8, 2009

ERC TOUR 2009 - Pittsburgh

In Pittsburgh we started our tour to a visit to the Edgar Thomson Steel Mill. We were able to drive the bus through the steel plant to see the different operations. We learned about the Bessemer process. We were not able to get into the Carrie Furnaces, which is being converted to a National Historic Monument. We visited the Pump House, the site of the Homestead Strike of 1892.

Then we went to the NIOSH Personal Protective Technology Lab. We had a nice tour of the fit testing labs, and the lab where they test personal protective equipment and how users are able to perform in it.

Thanks to John Talty, our project officer at NIOSH, from making the connection for us.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

ERC TOUR 2009 - Lackawanna Coal Mine

We are off to a great start of the tour. We have 34 partipants on the Tour, with participation from each school of our ERC and 3 students and 2 faculty from the Cincinnati ERC.

We visited the Lackawanna Coal Mine in Scranton PA. The tour is publicly available tour, and is well worth the visit. We went down into the mine, 300 feet. We saw the conditions in which miners worked. We learned about the safety and health issues that they dealt with, including explosions, methane gas, coal dust, safety hazards, etc.

Here are a few pictures from the tour....
In the first picture, you see the entire group, a mine supervisor, the train that takes the miners down to the mine, and Dr. Udasin in the evacuation tunnel.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

ERC Historical Perspectives Tour 2009

Plans for the tour are well under way. We will be leaving on June 7. The stops this years are:

June 7
Lackawana Coal Mine, Scranton PA

June 8
Rivers of Steel, Pittsburgh PA
NIOSH Personal Protective Technology Lab, Pittsburgh PA

June 9
River Rouge Factory Tour, Dearborn MI
UAW Safety and Health presentation
The Henry Ford Museum

June 10
Brush Wellman Beryllium, Elmore OH

June 11
Love Canal, Niagara Falls NY

We have a large group this year, with students/residents from all the NYNJERC programs, as well as a group from the University of Cincinnati ERC. In total we have 25 students and 9 faculty.

Keep watching this blog for daily updates.....