Statement from the Health Authorities
The town of Bethel has shared its air and groundwater with J.H. Baxter and Company for over 100-years. During this period, the chemicals used in wood processing and treatment have taken their toll on the local environment and on residents quality of life. What is most disturbing, is that it has recently been exposed that, according to an investigation by the State DEQ, J.H. Baxter has been using its processing equipment to evaporate its hazardous wastes and emit the toxic gases into the community starting in at least 2010 and happening as often as every month:
This intentional conduct is appalling and must be stopped immediately. This type of activity has robbed the local community of their health and safety for far too long. There is also a plume of contaminated groundwater that has been seeping out into the neighboring community of Bethel for decades, containing several toxic chemicals including pentachlorphenol (“PCP”). The levels of PCP found in the groundwater are over 4,000 parts per billion, which is 10,000 times the safe drinking water standard for California. The chemicals used and released by this Facility have been linked with serious health and environmental impacts including cancers and other diseases.
According to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the facility has been under regulatory orders due to environmental conditions since the mid-to-late 1980s.
If you live in this community and are concerned about health and environmental impacts from the decades-long operation of this Facility, please fill out the embedded form below as part of our investigation.