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This is the text of the presentation given to the Valley View School Board Tuesday night.

The board voted unanimously to recommended to Council that The Flexible Foam plant not be built within the school district.


Valley View School Board
Flexible Foam Manufacturing Fact Sheet

Children are powerless against many dangers in school and out, and they look to adults for protection. However, decisions that adults make frequently endanger our children. A new industrial facility is going to be constructed near our schools that release toxic emissions that contaminate the air children breathe, the water they drink and swim in, and the soil they play in.

There is growing evidence that these chemical exposures-these invisible threats-diminish our children's health and intellectual abilities. Research has revealed increasing numbers of children afflicted with asthma, cancers, lower IQs, and learning disabilities, which impede their ability to develop to their full potential. From birth, children are exposed to toxic chemicals in many ways. Industrial facilities and chemical storage tanks when built near our public schools are a potential source of chemical exposure.

While laws compel children to attend school, there are-astoundingly-no guidelines or laws in place to prohibit potentially hazardous industries from locating in close proximity to our children's schools. Consequently, parents will be forced to send their children to our schools that pose a threat to student's health and ability to learn.

A company called Flexible Foam Products, Inc., a division of Ohio Decorative Products, based out of Spencerville, Ohio is planning to build a factory in the PEI Industrial Park near Laminations and the Co-Gen plant. As you know, the PEI Industrial Park is located in a TIF tax abatement zone. Flexible Foam previously had applied for permits and was planning to build a factory in the White Mills section of Wayne County. They met strong opposition from the community and the threat of lawsuits and community activism forced Flexible Foam to look elsewhere, and they chose Archbald.

Out of the top 25 chemical polluting companies in the United States, flexible foam manufacturers account for 9 of the top 25 or 36%. The manufacture of polyurethane foam is obviously a very dirty business.

Flexible Foam Products manufactures polyurethane foam products mostly for the furniture, carpet and automotive industry. They use a variety of chemicals that are mixed together to produce the foam products. The most disturbing product that they use is a chemical called Toluene Diisocyanate, or TDI for short.

Flexible Foam has applied to the DEP to construct four above ground storage tanks to contain:
6,000 gallons of Aromatic Oil - a combustible substance
6,000 gallons of Methyl Diisocyanate (MDI) - Very Flammable
2 tanks @ 12,000 gallons each of TDI - Very Flammable
That's 36,000 gallons of chemical contaminants.

If an accidental spill, leak, fire or other accident caused a release of TDI onto the ground and into the atmosphere, an evacuation could be required for approximately a 2-mile radius. It should be noted that the Valley View School Complex, housing the Middle, Intermediate, High School and Administrative offices, and approximately 2000 students is located approximately 1 mile from the proposed Flexible Foam site. This would surely require the immediate dispatch of far more buses than are available to get our kids out of harm's way.

According to Bob Flanagan of The Lackawanna County Emergency Management Agency (LCEMA), Archbald Borough Fire Dept doesn't have the capability to respond to a HAZMAT spill. If deemed necessary, the LCEMA could request a HAZMAT team. Lackawanna County does not have a HAZMAT Team. Instead, a private contractor, Datom Products from Dunmore, or Teem Environmental Services from Old Forge would be dispatched increasing the response time to 20 minutes or more. By this time, the entire facility could be up in flames.

Inhalation of the vapors from TDI is a powerful irritant to the mucous membranes of the eyes, gastrointestinal, and respiratory tracts. Respiratory irritation progresses to chemical bronchitis, pulmonary edema, severe bronchiospasms, asthma, and even death.

The air toxins released from the manufacture of polyurethane flexible foam has landed Flexible Foam Products on the US Dept. of Health and Energy's "Cancer Dirty Dozen". They have received an emissions permit to allow them to release 39.04 tons of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) into the air on an annual basis. The chemical process of polyurethane foam manufacturing creates known carcinogens, or cancer causing agents,that pollute the soil, groundwater and waste water. The Bush Administration has relaxed air quality standards beginning in 2003, raising the ceiling on acceptable VOC emissions. The release of these VOC's into the air could contaminate playing surfaces of the athletic fields, and palygrounds at the Valley View School Complex.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have placed Flexible Foam Corporation on its "Watch" list for health and safety violations.

PEI Power has suggested to us that Flexible Foam will be modeling the Archbald plant after their newest plant built in Portage, Wisconsin. The Portage plant has had four fires, and one TDI spill that sent 12 people to the hospital, 2 of them critically, in this year alone. The city of Portage has a full time fire department and a HAZMAT response team. They recently purchased a multi-functional fire truck for $323,000 that would allow the firefighters to put on their contained breathing apparatus (CBA) before exiting the vehicle and being exposed to TDI's.

I encourage the school district to review their emergency evacuation plans to ensure the safety of our children while attending classes at the Valley View School Complex. If you look at the track record of Flexible Foam Products, Inc; it is not a question of if, it is a question of when.

It is up to us as parents, and you as a school board, to help protect our greatest resource…. Our children.

I would like to take this opportunity to invite the school board, and every parent here, to attend the informational meeting at The Archbald Borough Building, Tomorrow night at 7:00pm. Let our voices as parents be heard.

Thank You for Your Time and Attention.