Chromium-Laced Talk by Award-Winning Author Tom Belton at Main Library’s NJ Room on Saturday, 12/3

Protecting New Jersey’s Environment, From Cancer Alley to the New Garden State

won 2011 Honor Award from NJ Council for the Humanities


JAuthor Tom BeltonERSEY CITY, NJ   November 22, 2011 – With a prestigious award in tow, author Tom Belton will discuss and read from his book, Protecting New Jersey’s Environment, From Cancer Alley to the New Garden State, in the New Jersey Room of Jersey City’s Main Library, 472 Jersey Avenue, on Saturday, December 3 at 11 a.m.

A scientist with a 25-year career at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Belton’s muse came from his life, as stated in the New Jersey Council for the Humanities description for his award as a 2011 Honor Book, “His brother died of leukemia, his father of lymphoma. Thomas Belton wanted to find out why. Did growing up next to abandoned factories, swimming in polluted waters, playing atop buried hazardous waste have anything to do with it?”

Focusing on specific areas within New Jersey, Protecting New Jersey’s Environment reads like a polluter’s travelogue. Here’s a glimpse of his ‘connecting the dots’ at the stop in Jersey City, “graft flowed upward and hazardous waste flowed downward into the streets and onto our lawns.”

Mr. Belton will concentrate on the concentration of chromium that has permeated the ground since two corporations had knowingly dumped chromium-laced dirt, identified as so-called ‘clean landfill’, all around Jersey City. Honeywell International and PPG Industries are still sifting through that morass and cleaning up its last defiled site.


            The New Jersey Council for the Humanities also stated, in the notification letter to Mr. Belton, “In naming Protecting New Jersey’s Environment an Honor Book, the reviewers recognized the significance of [his] work in tracing the story of New Jersey’s environmental problems, as well as the response by policymakers and activists, since the 1970s. By connecting issues as seemingly disparate as cancer rates, chemical manufacturing, brownfields remediation, and forest preservation, [Thomas Belton] show[s] the breadth of the environmental issues that have impacted – and continue to impact – our state.”

            “We are thrilled to present Tom Belton, because Jersey City has been rife with toxic land, and we’re looking forward to Tom giving us the inside information not found elsewhere,” said Cynthia Harris, manager of the New Jersey Room.

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