“A system has order, flowing from point to point. If something dams that flow, order collapses. The untrained eye might miss that collapse until it was too late. That’s why the highest function of ecology is the understanding of consequences.” Frank Herbert Dune Chronicles
According to EJ4ALL, low income communities of color face disproportionate risk to health and longevity due to toxic emissions from polluting industries, roadways and waste disposal sites loosely regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Risk Management Program.

Hunters Point is a Fence Line Community

At the Edge of a Dangerous Fence Line
Kristen Welker asked Trump…”People of color are more likely to live near oil refineries and chemical plants…there are families who worry the plants nearby are making them sick. Your administration has rolled back regulations on these facilities. Why should these families give you another four years in office?” Photo: PBS Newshour

Wikipedia defines a fenceline community as a neighborhood situated adjacent to a polluting industry, company or toxic dump that is directly and negatively impacted by chemical emissions, odors, ambient noise, trucking, railroads, legal and illegal operations.

The Hunters Point hilltop and South Basin region are fence line communities adjacent to a system of EPA designated federal Superfund sites at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, Parcel E-2 landfill and Yosemite Slough.
In 2007, I ran for Mayor of San Francisco to bring voice to a community being bombarded by toxic dust. The San Francisco Chronicle published an article on October 3, 2007 that identified John Balmes, MD as a Lennar consultant.

The Understanding Of Consequences!

I want to respond to the letter of apology and admission authored by John Balmes, MD — UCSF Professor of Medicine, Director of the Human Exposure Laboratory and Physician Representative to the California Air Resources Board. Balmes led a 2020 BAAQMD panel on particulate exposure and authored peer reviewed research on adverse impacts of air pollution in children.

Balmes’ letter of apology was published by the SF Bayview Newspaper. In it, he admits to having been compensated by the shipyards Master Developer Lennar in 2007, when he issued opinions designed to minimize evident health risks and advance residential development on a federal Superfund site. In December 2007, Balmes was awarded with an appointment to CARB by Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger.

In a letter dated October 9, 2007 to Rick Kreutzer, MD — Chief Environmental Health Investigations for the California Department of Public Health, Balmes agrees that “risks of serious asbestos related health impacts for residents, workers and school children would be low on a personal level even if those exposures were to have occurred over seven years. We also concur with your conclusions that radiological testing of residents exposed to asbestos is not recommended and blood tests do not exist.”

Balmes was recruited by Lennar by members of a local church and accepted the developers offer to reimburse his UCSF salary during the period of the review. His recruitment came in the aftermath of the September 2007 unanimous vote by the San Francisco Board of Education, calling for a shut down of Lennar’s operations and an independent health assessment. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors scheduled a hearing on the Lennar shutdown that drew support from the progressive wing of the Board.

Balmes publicly denied having been compensated by Lennar in a government sponsored hearing hosted by District 10 Supervisor Shamann Walker on January 28, 2020. Balmes referenced me in his public denial and refuted my claim he was a paid consultant for Lennar in 2007. His apology and admission fulfill legal definitions for defamation- the oral or written communication of a false statement about another that unjustly harms their reputation and usually constitutes a tort or crime.

Letter of Apology and Admission by John Balmes, MD who was awarded a seat on the CARB in 2007 after intervening to advance dangerous development activities at HPNS despite astronomical exceedences in particulate and asbestos emissions. Balmes’ term on CARB ends this year. Black employees at CARB sent a letter calling out systemic racism and calling for the appointment of people of color to the board.
John Balmes, MD is Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of California, Director of the Northern California Center for Occupational and Environmental Health and the Center for Environmental Public Health Tracking. Balmes was appointed to the California Air Resources Board as it’s Physician Member in December 2007, by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. His term expires at the end of the year.
Between the years of 2006 and 2007, an estimated 1.2 million tons of asbestos, particulate and heavy metal containing serpentinite rock and soil were graded from the Hunters Point hilltop to prepare for residential development on the federal Superfund system at Hunters Point. The Hunters Point Community Biomonitoring Program is detecting evidence of community wide exposure to that toxic dust.
In 2007, grading and excavation at a federal Superfund site located within feet of a densely populated neighborhood in Southeastern San Francisco set into motion events that have culminated 13 years later as evidence of environmental crime and injustice. The October 3, 2007 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle reports, “at Lennar’s request, the state and CDC conclusions were reviewed by Dr. John Balmes.” Balmes, a professor at UCSF and specialist in Environmental Medicine, bolstered a study by state health authorities for the CDC supporting conclusions that exposure to asbestos-laden construction dust was at safe levels. Balmes recently retracted denials he made during a government sponsored hearing in January 2020 that he was not a paid consultant for the shipyards Master Developer, Lennar when he bolstered those conclusions. In an apology published in the San Francisco Bayview Newspaper, Balmes now admits he was a paid consultant for Lennar when he signed on to a letter on file with the San Francisco Department of Public Health stating residents could be exposed to toxic dust for up to seven years without health effects and testing would not be necessary.
Chris Carpenter is the shipyard worker and community hero cited by the Board of Education as the courageous whistleblower who, in October 2006, warned residents and school administrators on the Hunters Point hilltop of asbestos levels so high they triggered work stoppages. Carpenter was fired from his job at the shipyard and died in March of 2015 after losing his battle with peripheral T cell lymphoma -a cancer so rare it had not been reported in an African American.
The SLAM Coalition used the Freedom of Information Act in 2009 to obtain email exchanges between EPA and SFDPH regulators and Lennar Corporation executives that document conspiracy to cover up the dangers of asbestos exposure and to shut down the HV11 community air monitor that consistently detected astronomical levels of toxic dust. Mark Ripperda of the EPA was forced to resign. Amy Brownell continues her work as an environmental engineer compensated by Lennar developers.
The University of California at San Francisco employs approximately 30 workers situated in Building 830 within feet of the Parcel E-2 landfill and the radiation contaminated Parcel E shoreline. UCSF acquired the property in 1969 before the extent of shipyard contamination had been characterized. Workers documented toxic dust on vehicles and in the workplace.
Marie Harrison testified before the Health Commission in 2007 to protest asbestos levels as high as 60,000 fibers per cubic centimeter. (Shut down levels were set at 20,000 fibers per cubic centimeter) Harrison died in May of 2019 of a chronic lung disease caused by scarring and fibrosis due to years of exposure to air pollution.
The 2009–2010 Civil Grand Jury on the Hunters Point Shipyard confirmed that Lennar developers reimburses the San Francisco Department of Public Health for oversight of “earth moving activities” at Hunters Point and verified the email exchanges between Brownell and Lennar executives.
I used the “bully pulpit” of the 2007 Mayor’s race to amplify at a citywide level the toxic exposures Bayview Hunters Point residents were being subjected to. I came in third behind Gavin Newsom and gave him a run for very little money!
Human biomonitoring detects “pollution in people”. The Hunters Point Community Biomonitoring screening program has documented soil elements known to be present at the Superfund sites in nearby residents and workers.
Hunters Point resident living for over 20 years “ a stones throw” from the Parcel E shoreline presents with an aggregate of radioactive elements on urine screening along with a history of breast cancer and brain tumors. Cesium, gadolinium, rubidium, thallium, strontium and vanadium are detected in concentrations higher reference range for the normal population to floridly toxic.
The HP Biomonitoring South Basin Cluster identifies 16 residents with four elements detected in toxic concentrations. They are arsenic — red, gadolinium — blue, manganese — yellow and vanadium — white. The South Basin cluster includes two sisters living in the same house with identical toxins detected on urinary screening and a family of four with elevated vanadium levels. A cluster of toxic manganese screenings is documented in shipyard workers.
Overheard in Fog City: Breed Tells It Like It Is;

In an October 2019 audiotaped conversation, Dr. Balmes admitted to Dr. Ramona Tascoe and myself the four “white male scientists” were instructed by UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood via Mayor London Breed “not to speak to us!”

Ramona Tascoe, MD — President of the UCSF Medical Alumni Association Board of Directors. Pictured with incoming students of the UCSF School of Medicine Class of 2023 at the annual White Coat Ceremony.

Medical Director - Golden State MD Health & Wellness. UCSF/Stanford Author & Researcher. PI HP Biomonitoring. Certified Clinical Nutritionist. PoliticoMD!

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