“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started … and know the place for the first time.” – T.S. Eliot
Biomonitoring measures pollution in people. There has been no independent community-wide human biomonitoring program implemented in the United States designed to screen residents living adjacent to a federal Superfund site for toxic chemicals and radionuclides … until HP Biomonitoring!
The Hunters Point Community Biomonitoring Program – HP Biomonitoring – launched in January of 2019 as the nation’s first pilot initiative designed to offer voluntary urinary screenings capable of detecting, using mass spectrometry, 35 toxic metals and radionuclides known to be present at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard (HPNS).
HP Biomonitoring: Detect, protect, prevent!
HP Biomonitoring strives to advance environmental public health and protect high risk residents through community exposure research – including human biomonitoring, air monitoring and hazard mapping surveillance – toward the ultimate goal of establishing the Hunters Point Community Toxic Registry modeled after toxic registries operating nationwide at the Veteran’s Administration Hospitals and the World Trade Center Health Program.
HP Biomonitoring Principle Investigator Dr. Ahimsa Porter Sumchai served as attending physician for the Palo Alto Veteran’s Administration Toxic Environmental Registry and physician specialist for the San Francisco Department of Public Health. In August 2001, Sumchai founded the HPNS Restoration Advisory Board’s Radiological Subcommittee and contributed to finalization of the Hunters Point Shipyard Historical Radiological Assessment, Volume II 1939-2003.
Alicia Garza, leader of the SLAM (Stop Lennar Action Movement)-POWER-Greenaction coalition, called for testing symptomatic residents exposed to toxic dust generated during grading of the Parcel A hillside in a 2007 article published in the San Francisco Chronicle:
“’The studies have been focused on asbestos, but that should be broadened to test for arsenic, lead, chromium, mercury and other metals. … Blood tests can show that those toxins are very much present in the dust along with asbestos,’ said Alicia Schwartz [now Garza], an organizer with the group POWER, which advocates for environmental and racial justice in neighborhoods.”
Also depicted are representatives of POWER and Muhammad University of Islam school located atop the Hunters Point hillside overlooking the shipyard. Students and teachers of MUI reported symptoms of upper airway, sinus and lung diseases as early as 2005, and a teacher has now been diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
On Oct. 24, 2019, Genora Givens, program research analyst for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, congratulated the HP Biomonitoring Scientific Team on having been awarded the Packard Foundation’s Engagement in Grant Making Challenge. A grant in the amount of $70,000 was awarded to HP Biomonitoring for general support in the startup of a community based medical screening clinic designed to detect chemicals and radionuclides of concern in urine samples submitted by residents living within a one mile radius of the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard for a duration of at least one year.
The Packard Foundation grant will expand and consolidate existing biomonitoring services into a community based medical screening clinic with administrative, social and inventory space. Additionally, it will fund a half time community health educator, organizer, project promoter and patient recruiter by Jan. 1, 2020.
Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice is the fiscal sponsor. In accepting the grant, Executive Director Bradley Angel described HP Biomonitoring as “an urgently needed, timely and strategic project for the vulnerable, at risk Bayview Hunters Point community.”
Joining a chorus of community and environmental leaders and academic faculty, Sumchai called for the implementation of a human biomonitoring program following the discovery of a radium emitting dial on residential Parcel A in 2018.
The new HP Biomonitoring Medical Screening Clinic, located at 5021 Third St., adjacent to the Linda Brooks-Burton Bayview Library, will be open soon to serve you! For information and appointments, email HPBiomonitoring@Comcast.net.
To learn more, go to https://www.gdx.net/product/comprehensive-urine-element-toxin-testing-urine and https://www.alignable.com/san-francisco-ca/hunters-point-community-biomonitoringprogram. For nearly 200 more Bay View stories on the shipyard, see https://sfbayview.com/page/2/?s=%22Hunters+Point+Shipyard%22.