San Francisco is home to the former Hunters Point Shipyard. Once called “the world’s greatest shipping yard,” it was declared a federal Superfund site in 1989, defined by USEPA as “one of the nation’s most contaminated lands.” Contaminated by radioactive and toxic waste from decades of military and industrial use, including toxic metals, PCBs, radionuclides, pesticides and volatile organic compounds. Numerous studies document Southeast SF is burdened by adverse health impacts due to cumulative exposures to toxic air pollution, carcinogens and industrial waste.
Our story begins on any weekday morning in the mid 1940s, when thousands of men, migrants from the American South to “Frisco,” converged upon the gates of the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard on their way to work. To do their jobs building and repairing ships for the biggest employer in the San Francisco Bay Area during the war time economic boom. By 1908, the San Francisco Drydock, operating at the shipyard, had become “the world’s greatest shipping yard.”
The headline, “Biological bad luck blamed in two-thirds of cancer cases, researchers say,” has received very wide coverage. Tell that to the people living at Hunters Point! If one ignores chemistry, biology, physics and history, then one might believe it. It matters little whether exposures occur at home, workplace or neighborhood – it is not bad luck, it is exposure to carcinogens, and they are additive and cumulative.
A survey sent in April of 2008 by the Union of Concerned Scientists to 5,419 EPA scientists reports that 900 scientists say the White House watered down documents regarding climate change and inserted industry language into EPA power plant regulations and that scientific advisory panel conclusions about toxic chemicals went unheeded.
The dirt is in the details. Dirty early transfer, dirty development, dirty politics is not the answer to any of the conditions that plague Bayview Hunters Point or San Francisco as a whole. Now it is our call, our time to get involved to say no to the dirty onslaught upon BVHP and San Francisco.
In its comments on the Candlestick Point-Hunters Point Shipyard Environmental Impact Report, POWER focused on the carcinogens and radiological contamination at the Shipyard; the dangers of liquefaction; climate change and sea level rise; transportation impacts from the proposed development; the connection of the development to the existing community; and the preservation of historic Ohlone sites.
Tuesday, Jan. 5, at 4 p.m. in City Hall Room 416 is the FINAL hearing on the Candlestick Point-Hunters Point Shipyard EIR, a very callous, negligent and dangerous document that identifies numerous life threatening and potentially disastrous impacts to human health and the environment - most dangerous of all the potential construction activities at a federal Superfund site listed as one of the most toxic properties in the nation!
The way we grow, distribute and prepare food should celebrate our various cultures and our shared humanity, providing not only sustenance, but justice, beauty and pleasure.