ROCKY HILL, Conn. (WTNH)-- A newly released report details what toxic chemicals inspectors found inside a Rocky Hill business. It raises new questions about why the tenant renting the space was never told about them.
When John Turek opened his dream car detailing business, he says he was saving money by renting space at Bellamose Business Park.
Rent was reasonable and space was plentiful. He didn't hire employees, but says he brought in close friends to help setup the business. It was during that setup that he first came in contact with a green powder he did not recognize. Assuming it was paint, Turek said he and his friends worked to blow it up and out of the shop.
It did not take long before not just Turek, but several of the people who moved the chemical began to feel sick.
A report obtained by the News8 Investigators shows what that that green powder was: Hexavalent Chromium, a chemical linked to cancer, asthma and ulcers, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The report found the chemical in all of its tests from different areas around the warehouse.
A medical test provided by Turek shows that his lung capacity is down by 30 percent. He reports a constant feeling of sickness, and he points to exposure to the hexavalent chromium.
Up until 2001, the site was used by Pratt & Whitney for jet engine manufacturing. They use hexavalent chromium to raise the melting temperature of certain types of metals. At the time, Pratt & Whitney was working with the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) to cleanup the site. There was chromium found in the soil at the time of the sale, along with high levels of arsenic, among other chemicals.
No tests were done in the room where the Hexavalent Chromium was found by Turek.
DEEP only was interested in areas that could have been leaking into the soil or water.
"If we know there is a storage area, that is an area that will become an area of concern," said Jan Czeczotkn, Assistant Division Director with the DEEP Remediation Division. "Our investigation will focus there."
In fact, no regulatory agency looked at the chemicals inside the small room that it was originally found in, and Turek said Belamose Business Park management never mentioned the possibility of these chemicals being inside. Turek had an independent lab test the site in June for the chemical, but the OSHA report confirms his worst fears .
"This is helping me go after the people that did this to me, but no, I don't feel any better about this," said Turek.
Belamose Business Park currently owns the site. A property manager denied that the chemical was inside the building, but rather blamed Turek for faulty business practices.
Belamose Business Park owners declined comment for this story.
Pratt & Whitney issued the following statement, saying the health issues likely stemmed from mold found in the ceiling of the building:
“Pratt & Whitney performed extensive environmental remediation work and testing for many years – with the oversight and approval of the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and a licensed environmental professional – to fully investigate and remediate the site in compliance with applicable state and federal regulations before selling the property in 2001. As is common with the sale of industrial property, the buyer performed its own due diligence on both the property and the buildings. CONN-OSHA recently filed its Consultation Report at the Rocky Hill Town Hall concluding that exposure to black mold is the likely cause of health problems affecting the current tenant.”
When asked about their storage of the Hexavalent Chromium, Pratt & Whitney representatives issued the following statement:
“All materials stored and used by Pratt & Whitney were done so safely and in compliance with Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, and when the site was sold in 2001 it was remediated to meet these agencies’ rigid standards.”
Turek has hired attorneys and said he plans to file suit against several of the parties involved.
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