Carter Carburetor Asbestos Site in St. Louis, Missouri

Between 1920 and 1984, the Carter Carburetor Corporation employed thousands of employees in the St. Louis area in their factory at 2840 N. Spring Avenue. The 480,000 square foot Carter plant consisted of several multi-story buildings used for manufacturing, testing, warehouse, and office purposes. The Carter Corporation manufactured carburetors for gasoline and diesel powered engines for 64 years at this location. In 1997, over 13 years after the plant closed, the former owners of Carter Carburetor (ACF Industries) conducted a removal program after the EPA found unacceptable levels of pollutants in the areas inside and around the buildings. ACF demolished three of the buildings and removed the polluted soil and debris. According to the EPA, however, there is still much more work to be done.

Asbestos was used in the manufacturing of automotive products during the entirety of this plant’s operation. In the United States, it was not until 1989 that asbestos was banned completely. Asbestos attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm warn the public of the effects asbestos contamination and exposure has on your health. Asbestos is directly linked to the development of mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer when inhaled, and gastrointestinal cancer when ingested, such as through contaminated drinking water.

The EPA’s off-site sampling efforts focused on three main areas: surface soil sampling, sediment sampling, and vapor intrusion air sampling. Surface soil sampling was conducted in all directions around the site in a limited number of residential yards, schools, and open lots, to determine if contamination has migrated off the site. Sediment sampling was conducted in storm sewers just outside the site boundaries to determine if storm-water runoff moved site contamination offsite. Vapor intrusion sampling was conducted in certain commercial properties, residential properties, and the Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club to determine if contaminated groundwater caused any offsite indoor air problems.

The comprehensive cleanup was estimated to cost at least $27 million. Although the Carter Carburetor Site is being cleaned up under the Superfund program, it is not on EPA’s National Priorities List. A new fence was installed in 2011, which runs around the entire Carter Site and is designed to keep children, vagrants, and vandals off the 10-acre property.

EPA has and continues to hold numerous roundtable discussions open to the community. The topics of these discussion included questions on how contaminants move through the environment and other processes of addressing contamination. Additional community interviews were conducted in 2009. Almost all of those interviewed expressed concern with the possible adverse health effects associated with asbestos exposure and several expressed concerns that the contamination may be spreading. There was general agreement that the building should be torn down.

EPA is required by the Superfund statute to ensure the selected cleanup action is protective of human health as well as cost-effective. EPA does recognize the significance of health care costs associated with exposure to contamination and physical hazards posed by the site in its current condition. Each of EPA’s recommended alternative will address health and safety concerns by reducing or eliminating the contaminants in both the soils and in the on-site buildings to acceptable levels. Investigations have indicated that contaminants have entered groundwater from the site, but the extent of groundwater contamination has not been fully characterized and is unknown at this time.

In addition to the asbestos found on the Carter Site, unacceptable levels of PCB ad TCE were found. The manufacture of PCB ceased in the U.S. in 1977 due to its harmful effects, including acne-like skin conditions, and neurobehavioral and immunological changes in children. TCE induces health effects such as liver and kidney damage, impaired immune system function, and cancer. Both TCE and PCB are probable human carcinogens.

EPA encourages the community to review the Administrative Record for the Carter Carburetor Site. The Record contains site-related documents and is available for review at the following locations, during normal business hours:

Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club 2901 North Grand Avenue St. Louis, Missouri 63107
St. Louis Public Library (Divoll Branch)
4234 North Grand Avenue St. Louis, Missouri 63107

EPA Region 7 Records Center 901 North 5th Street Kansas City, Kansas 66101
Lung cancer attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm also urge the community to review the EPA records. If you were exposed to asbestos, TCE, or PCB and developed a related illness, contact our office today for a free legal consultation.

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