What is Mirex?
Mirex is an odorless, white, crystalline solid used to control fire ants and as a flame retardant in plastic, rubber, paints, paper and electrical goods. It was banned in the United States in 1978.
Mirex breaks down slowly in the environment and may remain in soil for years. Although mirex is not likely to travel far through the soil and into ground water, it can build up in fish or other organisms that live in contaminated bodies of water. It can also build up in animals or people who eat contaminated fish.
We are not sure now mirex affects people's health, but it may cause cancer and can affect the skin, liver, and nervous and reproductive systems. Exposure to mirex happens from eating food or touching soil containing the chemical.
The Nease Chemical Superfund site consists of 44 acres along state Route 14 two and a half miles northwest of Salem on the Columbiana-Mahoning county line.Between 1961 and 1973, Nease Chemical produced various household cleaning compounds, fire retardants and pesticides—some of which included an uncommon chemical called mirex. The company used unlined ponds to treat waste from its manufacturing process. Hazardous substances seeped into the soil and ground water from these ponds as well as from buried drums that eventually leaked.
The soil is contaminated with mirex and ground water is contaminated by a group of chemicals called volatile organic compounds. Surface water runoff from the waste treatment ponds flowed into nearby Feeder Creek tributaries that run through the site causing pollution in the Middle Fork of Little Beaver Creek which is east of the site.
Rutgers Organics Corp. is the current owner of the property.