Girl Planting seeds

32 years after poisoning, cleanup launched at arsenic site

In the weeks after they moved from New York City to their dream home in the leafy countryside, Norman and Alicia Berns grew ill with nausea, numbness and crushing fatigue.  She tried to restore her health by drinking plenty of water, but that turned out to be the worst thing she could do.  "We were just getting progressively sicker, and the doctors couldn't figure out why," said Norman Berns.  Tests eventually revealed the Bernses had arsenic poisoning. They were hospitalized and endured weeks of therapy to purge the toxic metal from their bodies. County and state health investigators found arsenic had leached into their well from a long-abandoned mountainside mine, and the Environmental Protection Agency installed a tank for trucked-in water at their home.  That was in 1987. This spring, the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry warned that arsenic in the soil surrounding 10 homes in the neighborhood where the Bernses once lived poses a "significant threat to human health."  Read more....



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