Cancer-causing chemicals found at Houston dredging sites, residents say

Some residents of East Houston are mobilizing to denounce possible pollutants present in their neighborhood due to a proposed expansion of the Port of Houston.

Residents gathered at Galena Park say they are alarmed.

Although Port Houston says there is no evidence of this, residents say potentially carcinogenic chemicals have been found in sediment and dirt dredged from the Houston Ship Channel, and are being removed. be eliminated nearby.

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The latest dredging involves Project 11, the widening and deepening of the channel from the Turning Basin to Galveston Bay.

“Of the sites tested for regular maintenance dredging, all had arsenic at levels above the EPA limit considered safe for soil. One sample was even 45 times higher than what is considered safe. safe…Other pollutants found to be above EPA safety limits were cadmium, benzopyrene or PAHs, and dioxins and furans,” says Naomi Yoder of the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice. TSU.

“Vulnerable communities deserve to be protected. Vulnerable communities do not deserve to be abandoned again and again,” adds Erandi Trevino of the Healthy Port Communities Coalition.

“We’re right next to them now. You can see the berms,” ​​Yoder points out.


“Back in the 80s I used to go up there and play on these dredging sites when I was a kid and I’m living proof of what these chemicals can do to you, my health is suffering because of the chemicals there in the area,” said resident Juan Flores.

“Right next to homes, schools, ball fields. In other words, they are next to places where people live, work and play. Additionally, the communities near the Houston Ship Channel are primarily made up of people of color and low-income people.” » adds Yoder.

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The Port of Houston released the following statement:

“Port Houston cares deeply about the health and safety of our neighboring communities and we hear their concerns. Sediment testing is conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) before materials are placed in sediment deposition sites and we have not seen any evidence of contamination or releases in any of the dredged material deposition areas that would pose a risk to human health. The Houston Ship Channel supports 1.54 million. of jobs in Texas and $906 billion in national economic value and maintaining and improving the canal is necessary for the continued economic prosperity of our region and the safety and efficiency of the waterway. the busiest in the country.