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Fingerprinting 2,3,7,8‐tetrachlorodibenzodioxin contamination within the lower Passaic River

The lower Passaic river (LPR) is an operable unit of the diamond alkali superfund site at 80 and 120 Lister avenue (site) in Newark, New Jersey. Between 1948 and 1969 the diamond shamrock chemicals company and its predecessors manufactured chemicals such as pesticides and phenoxy herbicides, including 2,4,5‐trichlorophenol, which is a precursor to 2,4,5‐trichlorophenoxyacetic acid—one of the primary components used to make the military defoliant agent orange. A byproduct of this manufacturing process was 2,3,7,8‐tetrachlorodibenzodioxin (2,3,7,8‐tcdd), and the site is considered the dominant source of 2,3,7,8‐tcdd to the LPR and its environs. Several investigators have identified the ratio of 2,3,7,8‐TCDD to total tetrachlorodibenzodioxin as a fingerprint for the Site source. The present paper presents data that establish polychlorinated dibenzodioxin/polychlorinated dibenzofuran (collectively PCDD/F) congener and homolog fingerprints of soil and sump samples from the Site. It then compares those fingerprints to the PCDD/F congener and homolog patterns in LPR sediments. The similarity of the patterns in LPR sediments to the Site fingerprint indicates the Site is the dominant source of the 2,3,7,8‐TCDD in sediments within approximately the lower 14 miles of the LPR, excluding, for purposes of the present discussion, Newark Bay. In addition, PCDD/F congener data indicate that the ratio of 1,3,7,8‐tetrachlorodibenzodioxin to 2,3,7,8‐TCDD is another marker of the Site and corroborates the findings from the other fingerprints. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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