July 2015
A newsletter of Blackford County Concerned Citizens developed in partnership with the Hoosier Environmental Council
In This Issue
Soil Testing Results
Radon Testing
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BCCC Mission
The mission of Blackford County Concerned Citizens is to improve the quality of life of Blackford County, Indiana residents by reducing the incidence of diseases, primarily through citizen action to investigate the diseases that are prevalent and by advocating to have these diseases investigated.
Final Soil Testing Results 

Blackford County Concerned Citizens, in partnership with the Hoosier Environmental Council, tested soil for heavy metals that might have been left behind by the glass industry decades ago. There used to be a glass factory on the property that now has the Babe Ruth baseball field and Southside Elementary School in Hartford City, and there was another at Montpelier's Little League field. The glass factories used arsenic and lead in the manufacturing process, and could have contaminated the soil. Arsenic and lead do not break down over time.
American Window Glass factory 1909

American Window Glass site in Hartford City 2015

Blackford County soil samples in bags awaiting testing.
All of the soil samples from Montpelier and Southside Elementary School had the same low levels of arsenic and lead as soil generally does in this part of Indiana. A few deposits of arsenic and lead were found at Hartford City's baseball field, high enough to exceed Indiana's residential standard, but well within the standard for recreational fields.
The soil sampling and testing were generously donated by two private companies: EnviroForensics, Envision LaboratoriesPine Environmental Services, Inc., and SCS Environmental Contractors, Inc.

The mayors of both cities and the Blackford County Schools participated in the soil sampling project to ensure the safety of the county's children.
"I am pleased to find that the results of the study done by the Blackford Concerned Citizens revealed no dangerous levels of contaminants in the soil that was tested in Montpelier. We will continue to make every effort to ensure the safety of our residents," said Kathy Bantz, mayor of Montpelier
Ben Hodgin, mayor of Hartford City, was glad to have the question about the glass factory's impact answered. "I'm glad to see the results," he said. "It shows that we don't have a major problem."

Dr. Indra Frank, environmental health project director with the Hoosier Environmental Council, said that while levels are within state standards, they are high enough to exercise caution when at the baseball fields. "If my own children were playing at the Hartford City baseball field, I would take some extra precautions to minimize their exposure." Dr. Frank recommends parents do a few simple things to limit exposure to the soil:
  • Don't let children get the soil in their mouths
  • After spending time there, wash your hands and children's hands
  • Wash clothes that have soil on them (like baseball uniforms)
  • Leave shoes that have been to the site at the door, don't wear them into your home
Dr. Frank indicated that while sports are fine, the Hartford City property that has the Babe Ruth field should not be developed for housing or used for growing food crops in the future unless the soil is remediated.
With projects like this Blackford County Concerned Citizens is working to find and reduce exposures that could increase the risk of cancer or neurologic disease. The full reports on the soil testing are available at BCCC's website. For more on the Hoosier Environmental Council's work for a healthy environment see www.hecweb.org.
Radon Tests Available


Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that can seep into houses from some types of soil. Elevated levels in a home increase the risk of lung cancer. A limited number of discounted tests are available for Blackford County.


If you are interested, contact Indra at ifrank@hecweb.org. Kits are also available for $15 each by calling the radon info hotline 1-800-272-9723. Additional information is available at www.HealthHouse.org.

BCCC Needs You! 

BCCC needs your support to continue our search for exposures that increase the risk of cancer and neurologic disease and for solutions once harmful exposures are identified. Thanks to support from the Blackford County Community Foundation, there is a BCCC Fund where your donation will be matched at 50% with money from the Lilly Endowment's GIFT Phase VI initiative. So for every dollar you give, BCCC will receive $1.50. Checks should be written to 'Blackford County Community Foundation', and 'BCCC' should be on the memo line.

Please mail to
BCCC c/o Blackford County Community Foundation
121 North High Street
P.O. Box 327
Hartford City, IN 47348
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