THE STORY OF HOW ONE OF THE MOST POLLUTED WATERWAYS IN AMERICA CAME TO BE LOCATED IN ONE OF THE COUNTRY’S MOST EXPENSIVE NEIGHBORHOODS. ALSO: DYSENTERY, CANCER, AND ARSENIC POISONING.
ON PAH’s in the Gowanus:
Then there’s PAHs, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. They’re also renowned carcinogens, associated with wildly increased risk of cancer as well as many of the same developmental problems as PCBs. And if you’re unlucky enough to get a little dose of coal tar in your glass, you could suffer “pitch poisoning,” in which you suffer vascular collapse, capillary damage, and possibly renal damage. I can’t generalize, because some parts of the Gowanus have no coal tar and some have lots, but if you snag a glob of tar, well, that could be it for you. A lethal dose is somewhere between 100 and 200 mg/kg. Assuming you don’t, you’ve still got heavy metals and wild carcinogens.