Hunters Point Ship Yard Need for Re-evaluation of Contaminants of Concern

Hunters Point Ship Yard Need for
Re-evaluation of Contaminants of Concern

  • Gamma scans are not adequate for retesting of radioactive components of all parcels at the Hunters Point Ship Yard.
  • Complete analytical testing of all parcels must be conducted for all radioactive component identified as Contaminants of Concern at the ship yard.
  • Sampling of surface, subsurface soils, sediments and ground water must be conducted through borings down into the upper ground water zones on all parcels with sampling grids sufficient to determine the vertical and horizontal extent of contamination.
  • Deeper ground water sampling must be performed in the areas where the shallow groundwater zones are determined to be contaminated and in areas with the potential from deeper ground water contamination.
  • Evaluate all locations  where clean samples were substituted for “contaminated/hot”   radioactive components were identified to have taken place to determine  if other contaminants such as VOCs, semi-VOCs, Polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons,  PCBs, dioxins and furans  and heavy metals were detected in the areas.
  • Resample soil, sediment and ground water for the other contaminants in the suspected areas as well as surrounding areas to determine the vertical and horizontal extent of the other contaminants in excess of remedial standards.
  • Examine the remedial standards used at the ship yard and determine if acceptable remedial standards have changed for all contaminants of concern at the ship yard.

Radioactive Components Identified as Contaminants of Concern on Hunters Point Ship Yard

Bismuth 214
 Kidney damage

Cesium 137
Thyroid cancer
Increases risk of cancer
Bone marrow failure
Reproductive effects

Cobalt 60
Possible carcinogen in humans

Plutonium 239
Cancer of the lungs, liver, bone and bone marrow

Radium 226
Bone cancer

Strontium 90
Human carcinogen
Cancer of the bone, nose, lungs, skin
Cancer due to damage to genetic material in cells

Thorium 232
Lung cancer
Pancreatic cancer
Bone cancer

Increase risk of cancer

Uranium 235 and 238
Kidney toxicity


Chemist / Technical Director

Wilma Subra

Chemist / Technical Director

Committed to protecting the environment and the health and safety of citizens, Wilma Subra started Subra Company in 1981. Subra Company is a chemistry lab and environmental consulting firm in New Iberia, LA.  Mrs. Subra provides technical assistance to citizens, across the United States and some foreign countries, concerned with their environment by combining technical research and evaluation.

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This information is then presented to community members so that strategies may be developed to address their local struggles. Utilizing the information gained from community involvement, the needs identified are translated into policy changes at the State and Federal level through service on multi-stake holder committees.

She recently completed a seven year term as Vice-Chair of the Environmental Protection Agency National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology (NACEPT), a five year term on the National Advisory Committee of the U.S. Representative to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation and a six year term on the EPA National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) where she served as a member of the Cumulative Risk and Impacts Working Group of the NEJAC Council, and chaired the NEJAC Gulf Coast Hurricanes Work Group.

Mrs. Subra holds degrees in Microbiology/Chemistry from the University of Southwestern Louisiana. She received the MacArthur Fellowship “Genius” Award from the MacArthur Foundation for helping ordinary citizens understand, cope with and combat environmental issues in their communities and was one of three finalist in the Environmental Category of the 2004 Volvo for Life Award. Subra was selected in 2011 as one of the ‘Lifetime Remarkable Woman’ and most recently won the 2011 Global Exchange, Human Rights Award for her ongoing work with the BP Oil Spill and the communities affected by it.

Links of interest:


Environmental Health Scientist


Wilma Alpha Subra

Environmental Health Scientist | Class of 1999


Environmental Health Scientist


New Iberia, Louisiana


56 at time of award

Wilma Subra is a chemist and an environmentalist who helps ordinary citizens to understand, cope with, and combat toxic chemicals in their communities.

Dozens of toxic sites across the state of Louisiana have been cleaned up as a result of her activity as a scientist and community organizer. Subra works with families, nonprofit groups, universities, and government agencies to test soil and water, to interpret test data, and to advocate for political and regulatory reform. She has worked with communities on health problems stemming from wetland destruction, groundwater contamination, waste streams, landfills, pesticide misuse, radioactive oil-field waste, incinerators, and injection wells. She led a multiyear campaign to close the Marine Shale Processors in East St. Mary Parish, Louisiana, which was licensed as a recycling facility but operated as a hazardous waste incinerator. She also worked with citizens of Grand Bois, Louisiana, the EPA, and the Federal Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry to close an open, oil field waste dump that has compromised the health of Grand Bois residents.

Subra serves as president of the Subra Company, Inc., in New Iberia, Louisiana, which she founded in 1981.

Subra received a B.S. (1965) and an M.S. (1966) from the University of Southwestern Louisiana.

Last updated January 1, 2005


Speaking out Against Lennar's Lies

July 12, 2010 - News Video

At a press conference Monday, July 12, on the steps of San Francisco City Hall, Louisiana environmental attorney Monique Hardin and environmental scientist Wilma Subra challenged the Environmental Impact Report for Lennar’s proposed development in the Hunters Point Shipyard. A speech by Jose Luis Pavon warning that the promise of jobs is empty because the project is exempt from local hire laws was disrupted by a pro-Lennar faction advocating for employment. – Video courtesy Brother Leon Muhammad, dean of Muhammad University and former chair of the Hunters Point Shipyard Restoration Advisory Board (RAB)

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