This is a map of Miami-Dade’s Superfund sites: places where huge chemical accidents happened, causing the contamination of soil and water sources. [The red pins are sites that are being or need to be cleaned up and the blue pins are ones that have been cleaned up and removed from the National Priorities List]
Miami-Dade has 14 of them, eight of which have been adequately cleaned up, six of which remain contamination sites, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The term “Superfund” is the name of a trust fund created by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) in 1980. A Superfund is used to finance emergency responses, cleanups, and assess the dangers of abandoned or uncontrolled hazardous waste dumps. The Superfund sites are the areas being cleaned up.
Most of them are located in low-income areas. You can compare that data here.
Why are we talking about them now? Because a recent study published in Statistics and Public Policy determined a link between the rise of incidences of cancer and a person’s proximity to Superfund sites in Florida.
“Florida has the sixth highest number of Superfund sites in the US and, in 2016, Florida was projected to have the second largest number of new cancer cases in the US,” the study reads.
But even though Miami-Dade has the most Superfund sites of any county in the state, it didn’t have a very high concentration of cancer incidence near these sites. Researchers had a hypothesis for why: The Superfund program to clean up contaminated areas was established in 1980. Around the same time, there was a huge influx of immigrant populations to Miami-Dade, so the new populations may have diluted the data.
Their recommendations for repeating the study: there needs to be more research on the link to the effects of Superfund sites on people living near them. But whether or not that happens is TBD — President Trump’s new budget shows a massive cut in Superfund funding – $330 million to be exact. That’s reducing the money allocated to cleanup efforts by almost a third.