(NOTE: Scroll to bottom of page for ATSDR's response
and my letter forwarded to EPA)

March 25, 2000

Robert C. Williams, P.E., DEE
Assistant Surgeon General
Director, Division of Health Assessment
and Consultation
Agency for Toxic Substances

and Disease Registry
1600 Clifton Road (E32)
Atlanta, GA 30333

Fax: (404) 639-0654
Email: RCW1@cdc.gov

RE: Oak Harbor Golf Club - Public Health Assessment

Dear Mr. Williams:

This is a rather belated response to your letter of September 29, 1999.

In consideration of the fact that I am legally disabled from chemical poisoning, I ask that your office be more cooperative in its efforts in obtaining the needed information for going forward with the public health assessment on the golf course facility. I am attempting to survive on a limited income along with being trapped in the state living next to a toxic golf course (7 days a week 24 hours per day) when the State of Louisiana suspended my driver's license in early 1994 alleging "mental incompetency from chemical poisoning".

To my knowledge, your office has not held a public meeting in the local area with the intent of gathering information from other citizens. Therefore, your office has unfairly placed the petition for a public health assessment solely on my shoulders. Please advise when your office plans to hold, and publicize, the public meeting according to the original plans by your office?

Although your office on its own merit is quite capable of contacting Save Our Wetlands, Inc. for requesting information, I am contacting accordingly in your behalf. As your office was previously advised, the information you are requesting also had been forwarded to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. Hereafter, I would appreciate your office directly contacting the environmental group, or the state agency holding the information, and sending a copy to me for followup.

Due to many bonafide reasons, including the "politics of pesticides", I requested upfront that if your office should require testing of my private water well that your request be placed "in writing" advising specifically your need for "what" and "why" of such testing. I also asked that your request be made allowing a reasonable period of time for sampling in order that I might seek legal advice and/or make preparations for a "split" sample. Your office did not comply with my more than reasonable request under the circumstances.

Further, taking a sample of water from my indoor kitchen water faucet to test for pesticides and inorganic/organic chemicals is not the same as taking a sample from my private water well. I consider the offer to sample water from my indoor kitchen water faucet (a spur of the moment offer from three employees of your office in its visit to my home and local area) as a ploy for blaming the victim for their own poisoning which would result in conveniently closing the case on the golf course facility. It appears from further actions by your office that this may very well have been the intent behind offering to sample my indoor kitchen water faucet at the spur of the moment.

May I remind your office that the surrounding residential community, in particular the community adjoining the Schneider Canal, obtains its drinking water from private water wells. This community consists of mainly uneducated, low-income individuals and is mostly unaware that the golf course uses toxic chemicals. Also, the nearby community is unaware that the golf course (old and new) is discharging its toxic effluent into the Schnieder Canal where the citizens fish, crab and swim. When there is a fish kill in the canal, the citizens are baffled over the cause of the kill and led to believe by the State of Louisiana there is no cause for alarm. Further, the state is not advising the citizens of the dangers from the toxic effluent discharge in the canal.

The laws concerning the use of toxic pesticides and other toxic chemicals is severely flawed. All citizens should be notified in advance before any chemical is used wherein the resulting effect, no matter how minimal, is toxic exposure. All citizens should have the right-to-know exactly what toxic chemicals they are being exposed to and all citizens should be able to make an "informed choice" with consent. No one should have to cope with a toxic golf course in their backyard when non-toxic methods are available!

The golf course is not providing me with any type of notification much less the MSDS on the chemicals they are using. Are they providing your office with the MSDS? If so, please forward copies of such. If not, it appears both your office and myself may need some assistance in order to obtain the required MSDS on their chemical use.

Prior to the excavating of the old toxic golf course (known as Eden Isles), and the dredging of the Schneider Canal permitted by the Corps of Engineers, I was not sensitive to chemicals and my nearest neighbor, George, was not having nose bleeds the size and look-a-like of chicken livers. As your records should indicate, George died from a multitude of health problems that included prostrate cancer after being branded with Alzheimer's. His illnesses took a turn for the worst during the same period of time I became disabled by chemical poisoning. George obtained his drinking water from a private water well plus he fished on a daily basis in the Schneider Canal.

Additionally, your records should indicate the sampling of my private water well on May 14, 1993. Do you have this test result in your records? It seems to continually disappear. According to the Summary of Environmental and Medical Data by the Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals dated May 1998, "on May 14, 1993, LDAF took one water sample from well. The water well sample showed Bromacil at 315 ppb. There was no record of this sample result in LDHH's file until a recent request was made for all sampling data from LDAF". If I recall correctly, EPA's Lifetime Health Advisory level for Bromacil in drinking water is 90 ppb. Doesn't this qualify for "large scale well sampling" for the community?

My daughter Christine and I have repeatedly contacted the health assessor assigned to this site, Theresa Kilgus, after her visit to my home and to the area. My daughter requested a copy of ATSDR's report that somehow was given to the local newspaper saying Oak Harbor shows no environmental problems from testing.

Christine is justifiably concerned for the health of her children who were staying at my home during the first week of redevelopment when excavating began on the old toxic golf course. One of my grandchildren was not even a year old at the time and extremely vulnerable to the toxins placed into the environment. The excavating began in the summer time of June 1988 when my grandchildren spent the majority of their time playng outside in the yard or playing in the swimming pool. My daughter and I have not heard anymore from the health assessor who was to mail copy of the report to my daughter.

It appears the "fishy smell" coming out of the development is not only coming out of the Schnieder Canal!

Let's get the politics out of the public health assessment for the golf course facility and do what's ethical for the community. Let's do it before the Corps of Engineers allows the dredging of the Schneider Canal for a levee on the opposite side of the one considered "non-public". Then let's change the law and stop the abuse!


Nancy Hirschfeld
1301 Howze Beach Road
Slidell, LA 70458-8503
Phone/Fax: (985) 649-6574
Email: infchoice@webtv.net
Website: Pesticides, Wetlands & the Game of Golf

cc: w/encls.
Congressman David Vitter
Governor Mike Foster
Environmental Defense
Environmental Working Group
Natural Resources Defense Council
Save Our Wetlands, Inc.
Tulane Environmental Law Clinic
News Media


Check out ATSDR's response of May 11, 2000

Check out my response forwarded to EPA of June 7, 2000